IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa sophomore defensive end A.J. Epenesa has been named to the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award Watch List.
The Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award is presented annually to the most outstanding Polynesian college football player that showcases great ability and integrity. Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota won the inaugural award in 2014, while former Washington State defensive end Hercules Mata'afa was the recipient last season.
Epenesa (6-foot-5, 277 pounds) recorded 15 tackles, including eight solo stops and seven assists, along with 5.5 tackles for loss, one pass break-up and one forced fumble to earn Big Ten All-Freshman team honors by BTN.com. Against No. 4 Penn State, he was credited with three quarterback pressures, and a sack that led to a fumble recovery.
A native of Glen Carbon, Illinois, Epenesa was named to Athlon Sports preseason All-Big Ten fourth team earlier this summer. As a prep at Edwardsville High School, Epenesa played in the Polynesian Bowl where he was named defensive MVP after recording five tackles, two sacks, and two forced fumbles.
Five finalists for the award will be unveiled Dec. 5, while the winner will be announced Dec. 14 with a presentation for the award during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Celebration Dinner.
The Hawkeyes open their season Sept. 1 against Northern Illinois. For ticket information visit hawkeyesports.com/fightforiowa.