Iowa's A.J. Epenesa says he's entering NFL draft

Iowa zooms back scoop-and-score (0:29)

Nov. 17, 2018: Illinois running back Ra'Von Bonner coughs up the ball and A.J. Epenesa scoops it up for a 19-yard touchdown return to pad Iowa's lead. (0:29)

Iowa junior defensive end A.J. Epenesa announced on social media Tuesday that he is entering the NFL draft.

Epenesa is ranked as the No. 2 defensive end by ESPN's Mel Kiper and No. 15 overall in his latest Big Board.

In announcing his decision on Twitter, Epenesa wrote that he "got to live my childhood dream and represent The Black and Gold," and after discussing his options with his family, "I have decided to follow another childhood dream and enter the 2020 NFL draft."

Epenesa was an Associated Press second-team All-American and an AP All-Big Ten first-team pick. The 6-foot-6, 280-pound junior from Glen Carbon, Illinois, led the Big Ten with 10.5 sacks as a backup in 2018. This season, he had 11.5, making him the first Iowa player with double-digit sacks in consecutive seasons since 2002-03.

He made a career-high 14 tackles with two sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss in a win at Nebraska, and followed that with 2.5 sacks and defensive MVP honors in a Holiday Bowl win over USC.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.