Coming Back Strong

North Little Rock tailback Altee Tenpenny (5-11, 200) missed all of his junior season due to an injury, but showed Saturday at the 15th annual FCA Combine that he is poised to have a big senior year.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Most athletes would have been pleased with dropping a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash at Saturday's FCA Combine.

But North Little Rock senior-to-be Altee Tenpenny (5-11, 200) isn't most athletes.

Running a 4.62 and 4.47 just wasn't acceptable for someone who recently put down a 4.38 despite coming off an ankle injury that cost him all of last season.

"No, I am not pleased with that," Tenpenny said. "I just ran a 4.3 and then to come out here and in my eyes run a 4.4 at this point is just like running a 4.5."

Tenpenny committed to defending national champion Alabama in January and remains a Crimson Tide pledge.

But he does admit that he plans to take a few visits other than his official trip to Tuscaloosa.

"I'm still going to take visits," Tenpenny said. "I'm still going to look around, but I am solid to Alabama."

One of those will most likely be to Arkansas, a place that Tenpenny took an unofficial visit to ironically the day after former Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino was fired.

That was before former Razorback assistant John L. Smith was hired to serve as head coach for this season.

"I went down there for one spring practice and they looked good overall as a team," Tenpenny said. "They still have Tyler Wilson and Knile Davis there. As far as the coaching staff goes, they look great. I haven't had a chance to meet Coach Smith, but I have talked to him on the phone. He seems like a great guy and I can't wait to go down there and meet him."

Arkansas assistant Tim Horton was at North Little Rock on Thursday to visit.

The injury was a blow to Tenpenny's mental attitude, but he believes he will be better down the line because of it.

"Going through this process has just helped myself remain humble and give all the glory to God," Tenpenny said. "Without Him I would not be able to play football."

Tenpenny talked to Davis – who also missed last season with an injury - about going through rehab, something that the Arkansas tailback has had to do a few times.

"I talked with Knile and we shared some words," Tenpenny said. "What he was talking about was just remain humble and go through the process no matter how tough it seems, no matter if it seems you are not getting any production."

The FCA Combine is more for prospects trying to get discovered than it is stars, but Tenpenny wanted to go through it anyway.

"I came out here just to see how far I was after ending spring ball and see what I have got to work on during the summer," Tenpenny said.

The Charging Wildcats are coming off a 9-3 season in which they lost to Bentonville in the Class 7A state semifinals.

Tenpenny heads up a North Little Rock team that includes fellow D-1 prospects in defensive linemen Kenny Howard (6-2, 320) and Gerald Howard (6-2, 280) as well as rising junior athlete Kavan Alexander (5-8, 175).

Alexander had the top ranking at the Nike Dallas Sparq Combine this spring just as Tenpenny did last season – something that really jumpstarted his recruiting.

"Since Kavan first came up, I took him under my wing and look at him as a little brother," Tenpenny said. "We have great competition between us two. He is great for a young guy."

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