Iowa lands five-star 2017 defensive end
A question surrounding Iowa after its historic 2015 season was how it would impact recruiting. Would Kirk Ferentz start landing more highly sought after prospects or would Iowa still be middle-of-the-pack among B1G teams?
Well, if Sunday’s news was any indication, the Hawkeyes are trending to the former.
A.J. Epenesa, a five-star recruit and the top-ranked defensive end in the 2017 class, announced his commitment to Iowa on Sunday:
— AJ Epenesa (@ajepenesa24) January 17, 2016
The Edwardsville, Illinois native is not only the first five-star recruit for Ferentz’s 2017 class, he’s the first non-three-star commit for Iowa. According to 247sports, he’s the 13th player overall in the 2017 class.
A U.S. Army All-American Bowl invitee, Epenesa had recently received offers from Alabama and Notre Dame. Despite the fact that he was initially recruited by Jim Reid, who just left for Boston College to take the defensive coordinator position, Epenesa gave his pledge to the Hawkeyes.
His father, Eppy Epenesa also lettered for Iowa as a defensive lineman in 1997. He shared the news on Sunday, as well.
— Eppy Epenesa (@EEpenesa) January 17, 2016
The commitment bumped Iowa up to No. 8 in the early 247sports 2017 class rankings. Ohio State is the only other B1G school ranked above Iowa.
The last five-star recruit to commit and play for the Hawkeyes was Tony Moeaki in the 2005 class. According to 247sports, he’s the second-highest rated Hawkeye commit in the Ferentz era behind only Kyle Williams, who ended up transferring to Purdue and later had off-field trouble.
It’s still early in the recruiting process, but this is surely a huge get for Iowa.