Saban visits Tenpenny twice

With competition right around the corner under a new staff at Arkansas, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban checked in on running back commit Altee Tenpenny on multiple occasions Monday to see where things stand. Find out how it went inside.

Altee Tenpenny has always had some pressure to remain in-state at the next level, to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks, but he remains solid to the other SEC West school he committed to.


While the North Little Rock (Ark.) four-star running back still hears from the Hogs, and presumably will hear even more with their new staff, it was Alabama that sent in a coach to visit him twice on Monday.

And it wasn't just any coach, it was Nick Saban.

"He came to my school, I found out late the night before," said Tenpenny. "It was great to have him down, we talked about the opportunities that I have, not just as an athlete, but as a young man going to Alabama. We talked about my official visit, too.

"My official visit was set to January 11. And I'm going to Arkansas on January 18."

The news with Arkansas battling ‘Bama for Tenpenny is nothing new, and Saban even touched on it with that state's top player.

"He talked about other schools coming at me, but most of the conversation was about me and Alabama and how I feel about my commitment," he said. "I told him I still feel good about my commitment, I gave my word that I'm going to that school. I knew the background of the school and the coaches, and I made that decision."

So did the visit help Tenpenny's perception with UA?

"Alabama's already number one, they're already at the top," he admitted. "The visit was just reassurance of what I'm getting myself into and who my head coach is."

Perhaps more importantly for both parties, it was a chance to further their developing relationship.

"We have a real relationship, he tells me straight up how he feels and I'm of course going to tell him how I feel," said Tenpenny. "We're not going to sugarcoat anything; we're not going to lie to each other.

"He's telling me I have an opportunity to play next year, he's not promising that I'll start or get playing time; he's talking about the opportunity. It's my job to go in there and take full advantage of it."

While the first meeting between the two was at North Little Rock High, there was a second visit at the Tenpenny home soon after. There, Saban was able to speak to the 6-foot, 203-pounder's parents.

"They started joking around together," he said. "My parents seemed to like him just as much as I do. They know he's a great coach more than building athletes, but academically and helping me to become a better man outside of football."

The Tenpenny's may soon hear Arkansas' pitch in person, especially with new Head Coach Bret Bielema at the helm. He helped groom several good running backs while at Wisconsin.

"I talked to him for a little while, he was real cool," said Tenpenny of his early communication with the new coach. "Down to earth, but I have to sit down and really talk to him face-to-face. That's what official visits are to me, just spending more time with the coaches.

"Because on game day, you don't have as much time. After the game, you talk about the game and you have to go home."

Tenpenny will have a chance to do just that in Tuscaloosa the week before he does it in Fayetteville next month.

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