Simply put, Altee Tenpenny needs to re-think things.
The star running back from North Little Rock High School (AR) is currently committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide, but really oughta consider staying in-state.
The news of the Arkansas Razorbacks hiring Bret Bielema sent shockwaves throughout not only the Natural State, but the entire nation. Bielema is bringing his high powered rushing attack with him, and is looking for his next star.
Tenpenny has indicated he loves the tradition of running backs at Alabama, as well as Head Coach Nick Saban’s style pounding the rock to open up the play action passing game. He’s right, ‘Bama running backs, especially under Saban, are rock stars. Mark Ingram became the first Tide player to win the Heisman Trophy. Trent Richardson set a school record for rushing yards last year before getting drafted 3rd overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. This year the Tide have two 1,000 yard backs in Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon.
Additionally, the Tide have a little habit of winning. I doubt that hurts.
But in comes Bielema. He’s on the same level as Saban in terms of running back production (the only level he shares with Saban). In Bielema’s time leading the Wisconsin Badgers he’s pumped out P.J. Hill (3,942 yards and 42 touchdowns in three seasons), John Clay (3,413 yards and 41 touchdowns in three seasons) and Montee Ball (5,040 yards and 76 touchdowns in four seasons). Those players hold a large role in the Badgers three consecutive Big Ten Championships.
Both schools and coaches are about even in terms of developing backs. So why should he go to Arkanasas? The depth chart.
Alabama, depending on who declares for the draft, will be returning the top four running backs on their depth chart. Even further, Yeldon is only a true frosh this year, and will have two more years in Tuscaloosa. On top of all of that, the Tide have two extremely talented backs committed in the current class, Tyren Jones and Derrick Henry. Henry will get snaps as soon as he gets on campus. Can you imagine the 6’3” 250lb super back Henry plowing behind Alabama’s All-World offensive line? Needless to say, Tenpenny, as incredibly talented as he is, would have a very tough time getting snaps next year, and maybe even the year after that.
The Razorbacks, on the other hand, have a thin depth chart at running back.
They really only have two primary backs coming back, Jonathan Williams and Knile Davis. Davis could have been a Heisman winner if injuries wouldn’t have de-railed his once stellar career. Williams was very impressive both rushing and receiving as a true freshman this season. After that, there’s really no one.
Tenpenny is talented enough to come in and play right away, for both the Tide and the Hogs. But he wouldn’t have the opportunity to play right away at Alabama. He will at Arkansas.
Next month Tenpenny will be visiting Fayetteville. The Hogs will have their chance to make an indelible impression on him.
If I was Tenpenny, I’d seriously re-consider their offer.