Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
THE RECRUITING GUY:
Tenpenny dares to call Hogs, still Tide guy
NLR athlete Altee Tenpenny talks to the media before Friday night's 7A quarter final game in North Little Rock. Special to the Democrat-Gazette/JIMMY JONES
LITTLE ROCK Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and his staff hosted 12 prospects on official visits over the weekend, including North Little Rock’s Altee Tenpenny, who plays a position of need for the Hogs, running back.
Tenpenny, 5-11, 218 pounds, 4.32 seconds in the 40-yard dash, is rated a four-plus star recruit by CBS Sport Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming and the nation’s No. 46 prospect. He was hosted by junior cornerback Tevin Mitchel and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Cordale Boyd.
“It was a good experience,” said Tenpenny, who’s committed to Alabama. “I can’t say I didn’t enjoy my time.”
Tenpenny, whose parents accompanied him on his visit, hung out with Hogs commitments, including Forrest City defensive end Tevin Beanum. On a dare from Beanum, Tenpenny stood on a chair and led recruits in a hog call at a restaurant Friday night.
The commitments also urged him to be a Hog.
“They were like, ‘Commit,’ ” said Tenpenny, who will host Bielema for an in-home visit Thursday night. “The same thing everybody else is saying, I could be a legend at home and all that good stuff.”
When asked if the visit helped the Razorbacks in their pursuit of him, he said he needed to talk to his parents.
“See what they have to say about the new staff.” Tenpenny said.
Two days with the Arkansas coaching staff allowed Tenpenny to get a better feel for the coaches.
“All of the coaching staff seems down-to-earth and seems like they’re hungry to get on the right track,” he said.
Tenpenny, who officially visited Alabama on Jan. 11, said he plans to announce his decision on national signing day Feb. 6.
NO SWITCHING, YET
After Dominique Alexander’s official visit to Fayetteville over the weekend, Arkansas fans are hoping the Tulsa Washington safety, an Oklahoma commitment, switches back to the Hogs, whom he committed to in June.
Alexander, 6-1, 194, 4.53, left with a favorable impression of the Hogs after spending time with the Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and his staff.
“Seems like the program is heading in the right direction under these guys,” said Alexander, who made the trip with his mother.
Arkansas’ new receivers coach, Michael Smith, is no stranger to Alexander. Smith recruited Alexander to Kansas State.
“He wouldn’t have left K-State if he didn’t believe in what they have going on here,” Alexander said. “He said I should get on board.”
Alexander, who’s been attending Arkansas football camps since the ninth grade, said the visit gave him somethings to think about.
“I like what Coach B [Bielema] is about,” said Alexander, who said he needed to go home and talk to his father.
Alexander said if he decides to choose the Hogs, it probably won’t be until signing day.
HENRY ON BOARD
Arkansas commitment and Pulaski Academy tight end Hunter Henry said he’s a solid with the Hogs after his visit to Fayetteville over the weekend because of Coach Bret Bielema and his staff.
“The coaching staff is just awesome, they’re awesome,” Henry said. “I’m just excited to be with them. It just seems like everything is going in the right direction.”
Henry, 6-5, 235, 4.8, decided to look at other schools in November and took an official visit to Alabama. He had high praise for Bielema.
“He’s so personable and awesome and relaxed around us,” Henry said. “He’ll be able to talk to us and be friends with us, but when we get on the field he’s going to be on us. It’s all about business when we’re on the field because we want to win ballgames.”
Greenwood athlete Drew Morgan, a Razorbacks pledge, was recently offered a scholarship by Auburn and had planned to visit the Tigers on Jan. 25, but he’s canceling after his official visit to Arkansas over the weekend.
Morgan, 6-0, 180, 4.5, talked to Coach Bret Bielema on Saturday and decided to forgo the visit to Auburn.
“Honestly, the only reason I would take a trip to Auburn would be for myself and just enjoy it,” Morgan said. “But I told Coach Bielema I’m just going to stay a Hog. I’m not going to Auburn. I’m going to fully commit myself to the Razorbacks.”
Arkansas is taking a look at one of the more athletic prospects in the state, Little Rock Central’s A.J. Tucker.
Tucker, 6-2, 188, 4.52, has scholarship offers from Southern Illinois, Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State. A scholarship offer from the Hogs would end his recruitment.
“That would be huge,” said Tucker, who talked to tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. on Sunday. “It would make my family so happy. If I’m offered, I’ll commit right away.”
Arkansas, Ole Miss, Florida State, Florida and Oklahoma were showing interest before the season, but Tucker, playing with a cast on his thumb, did not play on the offensive side for the first seven games. He still managed 28 receptions for 516 yards and 2 touchdowns and had 31 tackles at safety.
“If he wouldn’t have had that thumb situation, I think he would’ve had a couple D-I offers and probably already committed.” Central Coach Ellis “Scooter” Register said.
E-mail Richard Davenport at email@example.com
Sports, Pages 17 on 01/22/2013