ESPN150 RB Altee Tenpenny solidifies commitment to Alabama Crimson Tide

West running back Altee Tenpenny (22) runs the ball against the East during U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school football game at the Alamodome. The East won 15-8. (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)

The decisions made by elite recruits across the country affect far more people than those at the school of their choice. Little Rock native Altee Tenpenny chose to head out of the state, with crystal balls and championship rings in his eyes when he announced via Twitter that he would be suiting up for the Crimson Tide come fall.

He made his decision early Tuesday morning, and one day before 2013 National Signing Day. Tenpenny announced his total commitment to playing for Nick Saban and Alabama more than two hours before five-star back Alex Collins announced that he would be leaving his home state of Florida to play for Bret Bielema and Arkansas next year.

Obviously, some hometown fans were going to be upset by this, but the reality is that the depth chart is not quite as crowded in Tuscaloosa — of course, only in the SEC is an expected three-deep rotation plus incoming recruits seen as not being crowded. Further, Tenpenny’s choice opened up a spot for Collins in Fayetteville, so both programs wind up with an elite running back.

The 6-foot, 212-pound Tenpenny boasts far more than simply the greatest name in high school recruiting right now. The young star also runs a 4.46 40-yard dash, giving the Tide more of that speed Saban looks for at every position.

The only other official visit he had made was to Arkansas. He also had offers on the table from Auburn, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Oklahoma State.

According to ESPN’s RecruitingNation, just as Tenpenny affected Collins’ decision, so to are others affected by his. Alvin Kamara is another four-star back, and rated as the No. 4 player at his position nationally. He is a Georgia native and had been mulling over whether to stay in-state or head to the back-to-back national champion Tide. Now that Tenpenny is headed to Bama and Collins is off to Arkansas, Kamara may slide perfectly in behind Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall for Mark Richt’s Bulldogs.

The magical hat dance begins at 7:35 am Eastern on Feb. 6 with the live, on-air decision of No. 1-overall recruit, Robert Nkemdiche. After that, ever more dominoes will fall as more hats are worn.

The Tide Nation, though, can rest easy knowing they have picked up yet another potential superstar at running back.

MORE: Check out ESPNU’s entire 2013 Signing Day schedule here

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  • greenie

    You got the timing of his announcement wrong. Tenpenny announced via Twitter AFTER Collins announced on TV. It is rumored that he had called Bielema earlier in the day to inform him, but it wasn’t public until minutes after Collins announced. Also, don’t know how you see more room on Alabama’s runningback depth chart. They’ve got at least 5 already there (Fr: Yeldon, Drake, Hart, and Roberts, plus Jr: Fowler) and 3-4 more coming in (Henry, Jones, Tenpenny, and possibly Kamara). And ALL these guys are good. That looks pretty crowded to me. On the other hand, Arkansas is returning 3 (none of which were starters) and currently has 2 committed for 2013 (Collins and Evans…Marshall signed as a Safety). Tons more opportunity for Tenpenny to get immediate playing time. Not begrudging the kid for choosing Alabama, but he’s certainly not going because the “depth chart is less crowded in Tuscaloosa”; it’s more likely because he wants to play for Alabama who has a much better chance for a NC.

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