Arkansas fans and likely the coaches as well have made it very clear to Altee Tenpenny that they hope Tenpenny will be a feature of the Razorback offense as one of the top running backs on the team's roster as a freshman. Meanwhile, at Alabama, where Tenpenny committed last year, he'd be more likely to be "just another back," part of the Saban machine.
Hey, that's exactly what Saban's pitching as well, but in a few different words. According to Andy Staples' article on si.com:
It could be Altee Tenpenny, the North Little Rock, Ark., back who is committed to Alabama but is still considering Arkansas after a push from new Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema.
Brad Bolding, Tenpenny's coach at North Little Rock High, said Alabama coaches have stressed using multiple backs throughout the recruiting process. "It's unique how they recruit," Bolding said. "They tell you just flat-out that, 'Hey, we're going to run two or three backs in the game. The shelf life in the NFL is a lot longer.'"
Hate on Saban all you want to but I think that's brilliant. As much as fans want to harp on team success and traditions and fan support and facilities, getting to the NFL is the #1 goal for many high school players these days, and for coaches to explain they'll set you up not just to get to the league, but to have a longer and healthier career in the league, is really smart.
That being said, we're well aware of Bielema's track record of producing players in the NFL, we think it's an impressive record, and one that we hope great players like Altee Tenpenny are equally if not more impressed with. Hopefully, with a few years of solid recruiting at Arkansas under his belt, Bielema can employ the same strategy. Hell, if he gets all the big time running backs he wants in this class, he can probably do it sooner rather than later.
Also, Bielema knows what he'd doing in social media better than most coaches. He tweeted this little piece of brilliance last night:
Found a Budda in Dallas. Lucky charms everywhere we go. #wps #gohogsgo @coachjoelt twitter.com/BretBielema/st…— Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) January 31, 2013
Budda, if you're unaware, is the twitter nickname for Alex Collins, the other highly touted running back Arkansas is after in this class. But I'm sure that's just a coincidence.
Doc Harper is the managing editor of Arkansas Expats and is a regular contributor to College Football News and Sporting Life Arkansas. You canemail him here and follow him on Twitter.