Alabama lands elite junior RB

ESPNU Watch List junior running back Altee Tenpenny (North Little Rock, Ark./North Little Rock) gave his pledge to Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide on Saturday when he was in Tuscaloosa for Alabama’s junior day.

“Yes, he did commit to Alabama today,” North Little Rock coach Brad Bolding said. “They are not only getting a great football player but a leader. He leads by example and is a vocal player.

"He works so hard at everything he does, and Altee does all the extra things. The kid is so fun to be around and is always smiling. He gives everyone so much confidence. He’s a team player that will get in your grill when you are not working. It’s been that way since he has been in our program. He doesn’t wait to lead. Altee is in the front of the line. The kid is a coach’s dream and the total package.”

Tenpenny, 5-foot-11 and 202 pounds, missed his junior season. He fractured his fibula a week and a half before the first game. He has been rehabbing hard and should be ready to go.

“He’s about 90 percent,” Bolding said. “He’s running, cutting and almost ready. He will be ready this fall.”

When healthy Tenpenny has drawn comparisons to former Little Rock star Darren McFadden.

“He’s that kind of player only stronger at the same age,” Bolding said. “He’s a power runner that can hit the sidelines. Altee is a Trent Richardson type.”

Missing the 2011 season was hard on the 2013 prospect.

“I bet he cried before every game,” Bolding said. “He wanted badly to be out there with his teammates and competing. He’s like a caged animal right now. We now call him ‘Beast” and we will unleash the beast this fall. I think missing this past season made him really realize how important the game is to him and what it means.”

Despite the injury Tenpenny had early scholarship offers from teams such as Arkansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Auburn and Ole Miss. As a sophomore he rushed for more than 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns.

While assembling the nation’s top recruiting class for 2012, Alabama started building arguably 2013’s best group of commitments. The Crimson Tide has already secured pledges from five ESPNU 150 Watch List prospects.

Linebacker Reuben Foster (LaGrange, Ga./Troup), another one of the nation’s finest prospects, 6-foot-5, 310-pound offensive tackle Bradley Bozeman (Roanoke, Ala./Handley), tight end O.J. Howard (Prattville, Ala./Autauga), a 6-foot-6, 225-pound target, and cornerback Artie Burns (Miami/Northwestern), a premier track athlete, are also on board with Alabama.