It feels like we’ve been talking about A.J. Epenesa getting to the pros ever since he came to Iowa City.

The time has come. The National Football League is calling.

There’s obviously a lot of work behind even getting to the NFL Combine, but it’s clear Epenesa has been preparing for this every step of his football career.

He’s confident as he begins testing in Indianapolis.

“We’re all doing the same events, all in the same day, so there’s gonna be no excuses,” Epenesa said. “No one can say anything, it’s all about how you perform in that moment. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

You would be too if you had his football foundation.

“I bring a lot of passion, a lot of energy to the game. I feel like I can be a momentum changer no matter what time in the game it is,” Epenesa said.

It started with his father, Eppy, during pee-wee football in Edwardsville, Illinois.

“Since i was 9 or 10 years old, is when I really started learning how to do moves. My dad was coaching o-line and d-line for us and he taught all of us, all the d-line how to do a jab and a swim move, or a rip move,” said Epenesa of his dad’s coaching.

Once he got to Iowa City, it was former Hawkeye Anthony Nelson who mentored Epenesa.

“He’s been nothing but a great help to me when it comes to learning how to be a college football player,” Epenesa said of Nelson, who’s now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Now on the cusp of the NFL, Epenesa is using J.J. Watt as his blueprint.

“He’s a bigger guy as well. He’s not your typical slim, shredded edge,” Epenesa said, “but he’s able to rush off the edge with speed. He’s able to rush inside.”

NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks said that’s a good place to start as Epenesa begins his career in the league.

“He does play more of a power base style where he just kind of mauls people, overwhelms them, not necessarily a speed rusher,” Brooks said. “But when you look at him and you watched him play against Austin Jackson, and you saw him kind of win and do some things off the edge, it was impressive.”