Altee Tenpenny had one request moments after his ankle was shattered in a preseason scrimmage last year. The ESPN 150 tailback looked to his mother, Shenitta Shephard, and asked her to pray.
“It was real tough at first but we tried to stay strong and encourage him,” Shephard said. “We're a very praying family. That was the first thing he asked me to do when he injured himself. He said, 'Mama, pray. Mama, pray.' So immediately that's what we started doing.”
Faith has surely helped Tenpenny's family since the injury. Returning to full form has been a long, arduous process.
Initially, the standout from North High School in Little Rock, Ark., was supposed to return to the field in just a few weeks. That didn't happened. Then, perhaps for the playoffs. Again, Tenpenny wasn't ready. The ligament damage and fractured bone in his right ankle still wasn't healed. So when did Tenpenny finally feel he was 100-percent? Just six weeks ago.
“I started feeling more confident and started feeling like I could do more things,” Tenpenny said Saturday at the Nike Football Training Camp in Memphis, Tenn. “The process was kind of hard but I just had to keep my head up and pray. Just be patient.”