A.J. Epenesa Named Finalist for Polynesian Award

December 6, 2018

Written by Athletic Communications

Hawkeye Nation

IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa sophomore defensive end A.J. Epenesa has been named one of five finalists for the Polynesian Player of the Year Award. The announcement was made Thursday by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame. The award is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player of Polynesian ancestry that epitomizes great ability and integrity.

Along with Epenesa, the finalists include defensive back Alohi Gilman (Notre Dame), offensive lineman Dru Samia (Oklahoma), quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), and wide receiver John Ursua (Hawai`i).

Epenesa (6-foot-5, 277 pounds), played in all 12 games, recording 20 solo tackles and 15 assists. He shares the Big Ten lead with teammate Anthony Nelson with 9.5 sacks, and leads the team with 15.5 tackles for loss. Epenesa leads the team with three forced fumbles and has three pass break-ups.

The native of Glen Carbon, Illinois (Edwardsville High School), earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from league coaches and was second-team by conference media. He was named Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Week following wins over Iowa State and Illinois.

Continue reading below

Related In HawkeyeNation Forums

In Iowa’s 63-0 win at Illinois, Epenesa caused and recovered a fumble, scoring his first career touchdown on a 19-yard return. He also blocked a punt.

Continue reading below

University of Oregon and Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was selected as the inaugural recipient of the award in 2014, followed by Notre Dame and Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley in 2015, University of Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau in 2016, and Washington State University defensive end Hercules Mata`afa in 2017.

Continue reading below

HawkeyeNation Archives View All >

Hawkeye Nation

Schwartz: Ten Sentences – Money Money Football Money Edition

David Schwartz

September 20, 2020

Big Ten makes financial decision in returning to play.

Hawkeye Nation

Iowa Football Kicks Off ’20 Campaign at Purdue, Closes with Wisconsin

Rob Howe

September 19, 2020

Big Ten releases revised slate Saturday morning.

Hawkeye Nation

Howe: Couldn’t Be Happier for Hawkeye Football Student-Athletes

Rob Howe

September 19, 2020

Hawkeyes given chance to show off hard work.

Hawkeye Nation

HN Video Feature: No Beer with Lucy Rohden (Ep. 3)

Lucy Rohden

September 18, 2020

In this week’s episode of “No Beer with Lucy Rohden,” Lucy takes us through why the Big Ten bringing back football is still like a break-up. Continue reading below Continue reading below Related In HawkeyeNation Forums

Hawkeye Nation

Kansas Defender Caden Crawford Discusses Hawkeye Offer

Rob Howe

September 18, 2020

Iowa Football extends scholarship opportunity to junior.

Hawkeye Nation

Alabama Receiver Jarel Williams Talks About Iowa Opportunity

Rob Howe

September 18, 2020

Hawkeyes offer scholarship to playmaker from the South.

Hawkeye Nation

Kirk Ferentz, Gary Barta Talk About Return of B1G Football

Rob Howe

September 17, 2020

Iowa coach, athletic director meet with media on Thursday.

Hawkeye Nation

Forest Evashevski, Hayden Fry Pave Road to Success for Iowa Football

Rick Brown

September 17, 2020

Hawkeye coaching legends raised program to great heights.

TOP