Every year, there are plenty of college football players who enter a season without getting the praise they deserve. Guys go overlooked or fly under the radar.
Keeping that in mind, FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt released the names of the “most underrated player” in each Power Five conference ahead of the 2019 season. There were plenty of candidates from the B1G, but Klatt had an interesting selection.
Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa earned Klatt’s vote. A somewhat surprising vote considering Epenesa is considered by many to be a top 10 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Most under the radar/underrated player in each power 5 conference??
Pac12 – Eno Benjamin RB ASU
Big12 – Chuba Hubbard RB OkState
Big10 – Aj Epenesa DE Iowa
SEC – Ke'Shawn Vaughn RB Vandy
ACC – AJ Dillon RB Boston College
Your turn, GO
— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) August 13, 2019
With names like Nick Bosa, Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary gone from the college game, Epenesa has been regarded as one of the B1G’s best lineman, along with Michigan State’s Kenny Willekes and Ohio State’s Chase Young.
Epenesa has earned plenty of attention this season.
However, names like Adrian Martinez, Justin Fields, Jonathan Taylor, Rondale Moore and Shea Patterson have received a lot of praise this offseason. So, while Epenesa isn’t exactly flying under the radar, he hasn’t been in a lot of national conversations entering his junior year.
That will probably change this season. As a non-starter, Epenesa has totaled 22 tackles for loss and 15 sacks. He’s recorded 52 tackles and forced five fumbles. Not bad for a “reserve” player.
In a prominent role on the edge, Epenesa could have a massive season and solidify his status as a top 10 draft pick come next April. Once the season starts, the Hawkeye defensive stud won’t be underrated any longer.