When Fultondale, Ala., native ArDarius Stewart committed to Alabama in January, many pegged him as a possible cornerback or safety at the next level. He plays quarterback in high school, but that’s not where his future lies.
Before this week’s prospect camp, UA head coach Nick Saban gave Stewart the opportunity to play where he wanted to play, and the 6-foot-1, 185-pound athlete opted to try out wide receiver for a change.
“I talked to Saban before the camp,” Stewart said. “He was telling me he was going to give me a chance to play whatever I wanted to play. He wasn’t just going to put me at a position that I didn’t want to play. He was going to give me a chance to do what I want to do.
“I was talking to my coaches at my school, and they were telling me I need to use my speed. They said I’d be a good asset to the team if I just got out there and played receiver. I played receiver before, and I believe I can do it again.”
Stewart had not actually played wide receiver since little league, so it took some time to get the rust off at the Crimson Tide’s camp on Wednesday, but eventually, he got the hang of it again.
“It went pretty good because I got back into the swing of things,” Stewart said. “I’ve been playing quarterback for so long, and I haven’t played receiver since little league.
“There were some good defensive backs out there who were being recruited, but I don’t think they were ready for me because they expected me to be slow, I guess, but when I got off the ball, they couldn’t jam me, so I used my hand movement and got open. I was catching everything that was thrown to me.”
As for his recruitment, Stewart said other schools are still trying to recruit him, but that it doesn’t matter.
“I’m just set on Alabama right now,” he said.
Tide RB commit Tenpenny camps at Alabama
Most wouldn’t think ESPN 150 running back Altee Tenpenny is coming off a serious leg injury. The Alabama commitment competed at the Memphis NFTC last Friday, and less than a week later, he was in Tuscaloosa, working out at Tide’s summer camp.
Although the UA coaching staff told him he didn’t have to compete, Tenpenny wanted to prove to them and to himself that he could.
“The coaches said I could watch practice, but I took it upon myself to get out there and get after it,” he Tenpenny said. “It went great. I had fun. I got my muscles moving, got to hop off the couch for a minute. It was great to get out there, just working and being able to go through the drills.”
Tenpenny only worked out on Tuesday, but he spent a combined three days on Alabama’s campus where he met other recruits, other Tide commitments and became more familiar with the coaching staff.
“It was great,” he said. “I enjoyed everything down there. I got to go down there and meet a bunch of recruits, meet a bunch of people who are already committed, and I got to hang with the players and get familiar with the coaches. It was a great trip.
The [commit] that really stood out was Reuben Foster. Me and him, we clicked from the get go. The whole time I was there, we were side-by-side, just talking and hanging out.”
Tenpenny, a native of North Little Rock, Ark., is still being heavily recruited by the in-state Razorbacks, but for now, he’s concentrating on Alabama and getting healthy for his senior season.
“It’s still in the back of my head, but right now, I’m not really focusing on other schools,” he said. “I’m committed to Alabama, and that’s all I’m really focusing on.”
Tenpenny does plan to take one of his official visits to Arkansas in the fall.
UGA commit visiting Alabama
ESPN 150 athlete Derrick Henry didn’t make it for the Crimson Tide’s camp this week, but the Georgia commitment is scheduled to be in Tuscaloosa this weekend for a visit. Henry said he will arrive on campus Friday.
It’s unclear where the 6-foot-3, 240-pound star projects at the next level, but he’s set on playing running back for the time being. If he flips his commitment over the weekend, that could cloudy the running back situation for the 2013 class.
Henry is ranked No. 49 in the latest ESPN 150 rankings, released on Wednesday.