North Little Rock, Ark.—Expected to be one of the top runners in the South for the 2013 class, speedy Altee Tenpenny from North Little Rock High visited Auburn unofficially to check out Coach Gene Chizik's program and left with some very good news.
"The visit was great," Tenpenny said. "They talked to me about football and beyond football like helping me become a student-athlete because student comes before athlete. Help me work hard. They were talking about being on time, going to class. How they were going to keep track of all that.
"I talked with Gene Chizik, the head coach. It was great. He said he wouldn't mind having me up here. I received the offer. That was great. It made my day a little more exciting. I'm one step closer to becoming an Auburn Tiger."
In addition to getting an offer from Auburn and Chizik, Tenpenny also had the chance to sit down and talk with the coach and see the campus and facilities. He noted everything was impressive, but the words were the most important thing.
"They have a new indoor facility there," Tenpenny said. "The stadium is great. The players' locker room is great. It really wasn't about what I saw though. Like Coach Chizik said, every school that is D1 is going to have great facilities. He said it's about the coaches and the people you're going to surround yourself with. That's more of what I was focused on today."
A 5-11, 200-pounder, Tenpenny received his offer from Auburn on Monday, one day after getting an offer from Alabama following a camp visit. He also holds offers from Arkansas and Ole Miss and is getting a lot of interest from Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and several others. Despite having some early options he said he's just taking his time and enjoying the early process.
"Right now everybody is number one," he said. "I'm just looking into all the schools to see what they are really about. I want to make sure they're not whispering something in my ear to get me to go to their school and when I show up it's something totally different. Right now I'm looking at every school giving each one an opportunity."
While he doesn't claim a favorite at the moment it's clear that Auburn made a big impact on the Arkansas standout. With players such as Kodi Burns, Michael Dyer and Kiehl Frazier all coming from the state he said that's something that gives him a better feel for the Tigers.
"Gus Malzahn, my recruiter, he's from Arkansas and that makes me feel a little more comfortable," Tenpenny said. "Being here around a whole bunch of Arkansas-Little Rock dudes -- Kiehl Frazier and Mike Dyer -- I'll feel more comfortable, more at home."
On his visit Tenpenny got the chance to talk to both of the Arkansas natives on the Auburn team. He said they gave him some good advice not only about Auburn, but about recruiting in general.
"Yes. It was great," he noted. "They were telling me how to handle the whole recruiting process. Taking it day-by-day. Be thankful for it because God blessed me with some talent that not everyone has. Just don't rush into it and do my homework on schools. Go research them and see what they're about and make sure they're not lying to me when they're just trying to get you there."
Tenpenny also got a feel for how he would be used if he wound up at Auburn. There is no question that Dyer and junior Onterio McCalebb are the one-two punch for the Tigers this fall and he said the coaching staff is already preparing for life after the duo.
"They didn't tell me how many they were going to take but I know they've got Mike Dyer here and Onterio McCalebb," he said. "Mike Dyer, last year he broke Bo Jackson's record. If he stays on track he'll be out of here by his junior year going to the draft. It will be available."
Tenpenny said he plans to visit Auburn again this fall for a game and also wants to see both Alabama and Arkansas again. With no plans to make an early decision he said his focus at the moment is on winning a state championship with his high school team.
As a sophomore Tenpenny ran the ball 145 times for 1,232 yards and scored 15 touchdowns on the ground.