Five For Fayetteville

It should come as no surprise that Arkansas' in-state commitments - including newly-pledged Pulaski Academy tight end Hunter Henry - are working hard to flip North Little Rock tailback Altee Tenpenny from Alabama to Arkansas. Tenpenny was at the Razorbacks' Elite Camp on Saturday.

During the morning session of Arkansas' Elite Camp on Saturday, Pulaski Academy tight end Hunter Henry walked over and put his arm around North Little Rock tailback and Alabama commitment Altee Tenpenny.

Henry, a four-start tight end who pledged to the Razorbacks on Thursday, pointed toward Arkansas' facilities and said something that likely had to do with Tenpenny joining him in Fayetteville.

Tenpenny, a four-star talent according to Scout.com, knows that he is going to get a lot of that from Henry and the Fayetteville trio of quarterback Austin Allen, linebacker Brooks Ellis and safety Alex Brignoni – all also committed to Arkansas.

"The recruiting process is crazy," Tenpenny said. "You don't know what's going to happen. I'm still excited about Alabama, but Arkansas is up there. It's great to meet other recruits. Today I talked to Brooks Ellis, another safety committed from Fayetteville. Hunter Henry, I talked to him. It's great to talk to other commits. Really we just talk about our recruiting process and how we went about making our decisions. It's a great process to go through. It gets a little hectic at times, but it's all fun."

If the Razorbacks are fortunate enough to flip Tenpenny - who was making his fourth trip to Fayetteville since committing to the Crimson Tide - it would give them all five of Hawgs Illustrated's top five players in the state's 2013 class.

Henry heads up that list with Tenpenny, Allen, Ellis and Brignoni rounding out the top five.

When asked about official visits this fall, he reeled off the following.

"Arkansas, I'll go to Alabama and I'll go to Oklahoma State," Tenpenny said. "Those three for sure and the other two are a tossup. Most likely, the other two will be either Georgia, Notre Dame or Tennessee. I don't know yet."

"I came back up to the Hill to visit (Arkansas offensive coordinator) Coach [Paul] Petrino, (Arkansas recruiting coordinator) Coach (Tim) Horton, just see the whole coaching staff. They showed me lots of love when I came up here. It was just great competition, and it was a great day to get better."

Tenpenny, who missed all of last season because of an ankle injury, talked about how fortunate he feels to be back healthy at this point.

"It's just a blessing to be back out there because it was a short six or seven months ago I didn't know what my football career was going to look like," Tenpenny said. "I didn't know if I was going to play football again, so just to be able to come back out there and run a 4.3, jump a 37[-inch] vertical and do just do a 3.9 pro agility, it's just a blessing from God that I'll still be able to play football."

Tenpenny got some pointers from Davis on Saturday as he worked with the running backs at the Elite Camp.

The two have developed a friendship bonded over similar injuries as Davis – the SEC's leading rusher in 2010 - missed last season as well due to an ankle injury.

"I communicated with [Davis] about it because I read in the paper one day where he said he was 100 percent, and at that time I was still struggling trying to get there, so I got a little frustrated, and I talked to him, and he said 'keep working hard, keep learning, keep coming.' He's available to equipment that I'm not available to, so I've got to work two times as hard to get back to where I need to be and get beyond that. So, we communicated, he told me how to deal with it."

Tenpenny had a breakout performance last summer at The Opening, a Nike event featuring 150 of the nation's top players and held at the company's world headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

He is just back from a return trip to The Opening, where he got to spend a lot of time with Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and other NFL players and put up the second-best SPARQ rating for the second straight year.

"It was just a blessing to me out there hanging with Ray Rice, Joe Haden, Sean Weatherspoon, Ndamukong Suh, talk to Darrelle Revis," Tenpenny said. "It was great to talk to those guys about how they went through high school, how they went through college to make it where they are today. That is what I am focusing on – trying to get to the NFL.

"I just wanted to pick their brain, see how how they did things to make it to the next level," Tenpenny added. "It was fun."

North Little Rock is poised to be a major title contender for the Class 7A state championship this season.

"We have 17 returning starters, and we've got six three-year varsity starters," Tenpenny said. "We've got that, we've got speed in the backfield, we've got power, we've got elusiveness…We've just got a lot of talent on the team, we've got a great coaching staff pushing us to be as good as we can possibly be, and this year we're looking to make a run for it."

Tenpenny said he is working hard to remain humble despite all the attention that comes his way.

"I try to keep my head level," Tenpenny said. "God gave me the talent, and as quick as he gave it to me as quick as he can take it back. I witnessed that last year, so I try to keep a level head, and I just give him all the glory."

He is also is making sure his team doesn't buy into preseason hype.

"The hype doesn't get you a game, the hype doesn't get you a ring," Tenpenny said. "Really, in high school we don't really pay much attention to it. We don't really look in the magazines, we don't really look on the internet. We just go out every day and do what we have got to do and that's work hard."





Altee Tenpenny





Altee Tenpenny


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