National Signing Day 2012 may be just five days away, but with the 2012 recruiting class all but finished Nick Saban and company are already casting an eye towards 2013. To that end, 'Bama picked up the commitment today from tailback Altee Tenpenny. Per al.com:
Altee Tenpenny verbally committed to Alabama on Saturday for its 2013 signing class, according to multiple reports.
The North Little Rock running back is in Tuscaloosa for the Crimson Tide's annual junior day, according to Scout.com and TiderInsider.com.
Coming out of Little Rock, Tenpenny had a big season as a sophomore in 2010, but broke an ankle in the season opener this past August and missed his entire junior season. That injury, however, is not a real concern moving forward, and in general Tenpenny looks the part and seemingly fits in precisely with what Alabama looks to sign with tailbacks. Obviously it's wholly premature to do any actual comparisons to these players in terms of on-field production at the collegiate level, but in terms of raw skill set coming out of the prep level he is built in the basic mold as a Mark Ingram or a Trent Richardson in that he is a strong runner with a low center of gravity that has the athleticism to make things happen in space. Only time will tell if he can turn those raw skills into actual on-field production against high-end SEC programs, but in any event he is the kind of player you seek on the recruiting trails.
Not surprisingly, Tenpenny sports a very impressive offer list, and more than one year from National Signing Day he could have basically had his pick of the top national programs, including 'Bama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and others. Several of the self-proclaimed recruiting experts have him as one of the top one hundred players nationally in the 2013 class, and by all accounts this is a big recruiting coup from an area that 'Bama rarely makes an appearance in. A tailback's dream the Bobby Petrino spread passing attack is not, but even so landing a heavily-recruited tailback out of Little Rock is no small task when your campus is located some 400 miles away. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, this is the first Arkansas prospect Alabama has signed since the much-heralded-yet-academically-challenged tailback Harold James in the 2000 recruiting class (which brings back some bad memories, I know).
At this point raw talent is no concern with someone like Tenpenny, but the obvious caveat is that with more than one year from the time he can sign on the dotted line anything can happen with his recruitment between now and National Signing Day 2013. Recruiting never ends, and just because he gave a verbal commitment to Alabama does not mean that programs like Arkansas and others will suddenly stop recruiting him. To the contrary, they will all but certainly recruit him heavier and heavier as time goes along and Signing Day nears, and Alabama will simply have to fend off all advancements on the recruiting trails to hang on to what looks to be a very talented prospect.
Tenpenny becomes the fifth commitment of the 2013 recruiting class.