- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
Running back Altee Tenpenny is eager to get out there and prove he’s 100 percent after a lower leg injury caused him to miss all of last season, but his head coach hasn’t had to use him past the first half yet. The strategy has given Tenpenny time to ease back into game mode.
Last Friday, the Alabama commitment carried the ball 10 times for 76 yards and two touchdowns in just the first half as North Little Rock High School rolled over Lake Hamilton, 42-7. It was his first game back since his sophomore season.
“I was excited to get back out there, playing with some of my teammates and looking towards a state championship,” Tenpenny said. “I was cutting and everything. My leg felt good.”
Tenpenny had touchdown runs from 2 and 10 yards, but his biggest run of the night came on a toss sweep where he got around the edge and picked up 43 yards. Afterwards, he was disappointed he didn’t take it all the way.
This week, the 6-foot, 212-pound running back is geared up to play the entire game.
“My head coach already told me to get ready this week because you’ll be in the whole time,” Tenpenny said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
After his game on Friday night, Tenpenny had considered driving to Dallas to watch Alabama play Michigan in the Cowboys Classic, but he settled for watching the game on TV. Regardless, he was impressed with the Tide’s performance.
“My overall impression was great,” he said. “I know Alabama is a great team, most definitely. Two national championships in three years speaks for itself. Michigan is a great team. I kind of expected there to be a little competition at the beginning, but the way Alabama came out and executed flawlessly from start to finish was nice.”
Tenpenny is one of two running backs committed in UA’s 2013 recruiting class, and there’s a strong possibility that the Tide will add another before all is said and done. That has caused some concerns for the Arkansas native.
Before the Michigan game, the UA coaches told Tenpenny to watch to see how they execute and how they use their running backs. Holding true to form, Alabama used four different running backs extensively throughout the game, and even freshman Kenyan Drake got a carry late.
“It was a plus in my eyes because it lets me know that if I go there and work hard, I can get some carries,” Tenpenny said.
The ESPN 150 star still plans to take official visits to Arkansas and Oklahoma State this fall, and he says he also may visit Georgia.
2dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough