Charging After the Wildcats

North Little Rock head coach Brad Bolding has developed a great deal of respect in a short time for Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, who has landed former Charging Wildcat star Martrell Spaight and current NLR junior star Juan Day already and has made it clear he's not going down without a fight when it comes to current Alabama commit Altee Tenpenny.

North Little Rock head coach Brad Bolding has probably talked to new Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema more than any prep coach in the state in the last month or so.

"I have got so much respect for Coach Bielema and how he is going about his business and the time he has taken for me," Bolding said. "He's one of those guys that I think truly cares about high school coaches and the relationship he has and is going to have with them.

"If I call him, he may not answer right away, but he calls back in the next 10 to 15 minutes," Bolding added. "Now I am smart enough to know that is in large part because I have some great players here, but I really get the feeling that would be the case even if I didn't. I just can't tell you how much I am impressed with him."

Arkansas signed former North Little Rock and Coffeyville (KA) Community College linebacker Martrell Spaight (6-0, 220) in December and then got a pledge from Charging Wildcat junior tailback Juan Day (6-1, 205) in January.

That leaves senior tailback Altee Tenpenny (6-1, 210), who has been to committed to Alabama since Jan. 28, 2012 but will take an official visit to Arkansas this weekend.

Tenpenny - a four-star prospect according to - took his official visit to Alabama last weekend and was quoted as saying he can't wait to enroll and play for the Crimson Tide.

He also talked about how he was taking the trip to Arkansas out of respect for his home state program.

"The one thing about our kids here is that we teach them to be very loyal," Bolding said. "Now that you have seen Juan Day commit to Arkansas, he is not going to be flipping all over the place like some of these kids and he will be a Razorback.

"Alabama has done a great job recruiting Altee, who I believe really has the potential to win the Heisman Trophy and play in the NFL someday," Bolding added. "He is ranked as like the 30th best player in the country, but I think will be the best running back in the country and has not reached his full potential because of missing last season with the injury."

So does Arkansas have a chance to flip Tenpenny, who is hosting Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and running backs coach Joel Thomas today at his school and home?

"Let's put it this way – I live in Arkansas, I am a Razorback fan and North Little Rock is all about the Razorbacks and has had a lot of players go up there on scholarship and contribute," Bolding said. "We're a little different that way than some other places in Arkansas.

"Would I love to see him go to Arkansas? Yes, because of those reasons that I just said," Bolding said. "But I am never going to push one of my players to go somewhere. I am not going to make other coaches mad. That wouldn't be a smart thing to do because maybe Arkansas doesn't need or want one of our players down the line and they can go elsewhere."

Bielema has made one thing clear to Bolding about Tenpenny's visit this weekend.

"He told me that they are going to throw the kitchen sink at him, take their absolute best shot and either he is going to be a Razorback or they go down fighting," Bolding said. "They are not just going to accept he is going to Alabama."

Tenpenny shared the backfield this season with Day and obviously is a big get early for Arkansas as one of the top 2014 prospects in the state.

"He (Day) got just under 1,000 yards this year and such a great work ethic," Bolding said. "He is quiet and not as outgoing as Altee is, but he brings his leadership by example.

"He is the type of back that sees the hole and hits it without the dancing," Bolding added. "He is a true north and south runner with great vision."

Bolding is excited about having Day in the off-season program full-time.

"I can't wait to see what he gets accomplished from January to August," Bolding said. "I think we are going to see him play next season at around 220 pounds and we are working hard for him to get his 40-yard dash time to 4.4. He's got a big-time of future ahead of him."

Bolding also coached Spaight, who then went to Coffeyville where he became a two-time All-American and was the Jayhawk Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

"I have gotten to know Coffeyville's defensive coordinator – Coach (Paige) Anders – and I have obviously coached quite a few players myself," Bolding said. "Both of us agree that we have never had a player who works so hard and had so much character.

"He is just such a productive player," Bolding said. "That's another thing I like about Coach Bielema. He does not hold fast to just height and weights like some college coaches out there.

"He stresses that he wants the best player for the position whether he is 6-0 and 225 pounds or 6-4, 240," Bolding said. "He wants the guys that can make plays, not just the ones that look the part getting off the bus and can't make the plays."

Juan Day

Altee Tenpenny

Martrell Spaight

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