As a sophomore, Altee Tenpenny proved he was one of the best running backs in the country for 2013. The North Little Rock, Ark., native rushed for 1,121 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2010.
Before ever taking a snap as a junior, Tenpenny broke his fibula and dislocated his ankle, forcing him to miss the entire season. He was on crutches for more than a month and had to wear a walking boot for most of the semester.
Still, that did not stop schools from recruiting him, and it didn’t keep Tenpenny from enjoying the process. He visited the University of Alabama twice during the fall for the Arkansas and LSU games.
With the walking boot off, the 6-foot, 200-pound back visited Tuscaloosa again last month for the Crimson Tide’s junior day and decided to commit to UA, turning down offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Tenpenny talked with TideNation about his commitment and how the recovery is going from his injury.
TN: You committed to Alabama last month at the Crimson Tide’s junior day. Why Alabama and why did you go ahead and make your decision?
AT: It’s a great all-around school, academics, athletics, great coaches, and I know that Alabama has a lot of benefits. It felt like the right thing to do. I was just praying about it. I talked to my parents about it, and when I went down there, it just felt right.
TN: Alabama has had a couple of great running backs recently with Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. How much did that factor into your decision?
AT: That factored in a great deal because I know, going there, they produce great running backs. The coaches are going to coach you up and get you to where you need to be to get to New York for the Heisman. That made a big impact.
TN: How’s the recovery going from the injury you suffered last year?
AT: It’s coming along great right now. I’d say I’m about 85 or 90 percent. I still have some trouble with cutting, but as far as running, I’m getting back my speed back. I’m getting my motion back. Hopefully, I should be 100 percent by spring ball.
TN: How excited are you to finally be healthy, get back on the field and play your senior year?
AT: I’m overly excited. I’m already asking coach for all my pads, all my gear. I’ve had the coaches try to tell me to calm down. As far as being excited, as far as being hyped up and ready to get back on the field, it’s overwhelming.
TN: I know other schools are still talking to you. Is your commitment solid to Alabama?
AT: I might take a couple more visits, but as of now, Alabama is the school for me.