A.J. Epenesa is ready for a much bigger role this season.

The star defensive end for the Hawkeyes put up impressive numbers in 2018 with 16.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks as a sophomore. The remarkable part? He wasn’t a starter.

Now gearing up for his junior season with the Iowa defense, it is clear that Epenesa’s role is getting ready to expand. During Epenesa’s BTN Bus Tour appearance, host Dave Revsine joked with him about finally cracking the starting lineup. However, he did ask Epenesa how he’s preparing for the bigger role:

“I just really gotta be prepared for the conditioning,” explained Epenesa. “I’m going to be in the game a lot more, obviously…I’m confident in what I can do, it’s just all about being prepared.”

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Epenesa already has 22 tackles for loss and 15 sacks for his career while coming off the bench. It will be fun to see what he can accomplish as a starter in 2019.

Be sure to check out all the comments from Epenesa and Michael Ojemudia on the BTN Bus Tour: