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November 30, 2012

Army Bowl invite a blessing for Tenpenny

MORE: U.S. Army All-American Bowl

Over the years, the thought of facing North Little Rock (Ark.) running back Altee Tenpenny has kept many opposing defenders up all night. On Thursday, Tenpenny was the one battling a bout of insomnia.

It is not that Tenpenny was worried, he was just anxious and excited as he prepared to be named a 2013 U.S. Army All-American in front of his peers.

"Growing up, I always wanted to play in an All-American Bowl," Tenpenny said. "To be chosen to play in the Army All-American Bowl and be recognized for my abilities is a blessing."

It may be a blessing but Tenpenny has put in plenty of work to achieve his goal. The standout running back burst on the scene rushing for over 1,000 yards as a sophomore in 2011. Then he followed up the breakout season with the nation's second highest SPARQ rating later that summer.

The future was bright for the standout running back, who held six BCS offers before his junior season and he had a feeling if he stayed on track his goal of playing in an All-American game was within reach.

Then an ankle injury derailed his junior season before it ever started. Tenpenny never played a down in 2011, but he also never got down. He knew there was work to be done, and Friday morning as he put on the Army All-American jersey on, he was overwhelmed.

He thanked coaches, family, teachers, and teammates who saw him through his tough times, and admitted the reality has yet to set in. It may be a while before it does set in, but he does know what he is looking forward to the most.

"I'm looking forward to being able to play in the game and experience the competition level that I'll be facing for the next three or four years of my life."

Tenpenny is slated to face that competition over the next three to four years at Alabama. He chose the Tide over Arkansas, Auburn, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss in January, for a number of reasons

"It's just the tradition they have at the school and at the running back position," Tenpenny said. "The coaches they have and everything they've been able to do."

Despite his commitment other schools have not stayed away, and Tenpenny plans to take official visits to both Alabama and Arkansas.

"I've been trying to figure out dates," Tenpenny said. "I've been talking to my parents about it, but nothing is set in stone right now."

His visits may not be set in stone and his recruitment may go down to signing day, but Friday morning one thing was clear and Tenpenny could not hide his excitement.

"All that's going through my mind is I have to give God the glory," Tenpenny said. "To be able come back from an injury as junior to play in an All-American Bowl is a testament of God in my life."

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