High-SchoolFootball: Arkansas

Get Familiar: Elite RB Altee Tenpenny

March, 26, 2012
TBD EditorTom Hauck/ESPNHSProud Alabama commit Altee Tenpenny of North Little Rock (Ark.) proved that he's back from a troubling injury suffered during his junior year and is ready to shine as a senior.
When people started calling North Little Rock (Ark.) running back Altee Tenpenny "Boobie Miles," he didn't think much of it. After all, he loved the movie "Friday Night Lights" and he possesses rushing skills similar to the brash, real-life Permian (Texas) tailback, so the moniker fit.

But when Tenpenny went down with a fractured fibula and dislocated ankle during a preseason scrimmage last fall, the junior's nickname took on a whole different meaning.

"People really started calling me 'Boobie Miles' after the injury," said Tenpenny, who was forced to sit out the entire 2011 season. "Matter of fact, I watched the movie a couple times and since I'd been through an injury like him, I could relate to him. I could understand that feeling and it made me see things in a different light."

Unlike Miles, whose season-ending ACL injury came during his senior year, Tenpenny still has another season under his belt to show that he's still got it. As a sophomore, Tenpenny rushed for 1,151 yards and 15 touchdowns, leading him to be selected as one of just three juniors at The Opening last summer and for the likes of Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma State to offer scholarships before he committed to the Crimson Tide in January.

Before he took part in the Nike Football SPARQ Combine at Cowboys Stadium this past weekend, Tenpenny took some time out with us to discuss his injury, his recovery and how it all affected the recruiting process.

ESPNHS: How did the injury happen?
Tenpenny: We had a scrimmage at school before last season and I was running with the ball. One of my teammates dove to tackle me and unfortunately, he grabbed my shoulder pads and horse-collared me to where I hurt my right ankle and fractured my fibula.

ESPNHS: What was going through your mind at that moment?
Tenpenny: I was just thinking, "Lord, please let me be able to play football again." I was blessed that it was just a break of my bone instead of anything really major. I'm just glad I can still play football.

ESPNHS: What was it like sitting out on the sideline all of last season?
Tenpenny: It was very tough, just knowing that no matter how my team was doing, whether good or bad, I still couldn't help them. I just tried to support them as much as I could. I had to keep praying and surrounding myself with positivity. My teammates were always real positive, so that helped a lot.

ESPNHS: What was the reaction from some of the college coaches recruiting you?
Tenpenny: Immediately after, my high school coach and I met with a couple coaches and called some others, and they all said that nothing had changed. I just started crying, but they were good tears because I was happy that I still had a future in football.

ESPNHS: How's your recovery coming along at this point?
Tenpenny: My recovery is coming along well. I still have a few kinks and some minor pain in my leg. Right now, I can run about three-quarters speed and I can cut better than I could before, so I feel like I'm close to becoming 100 percent.

ESPNHS: What was the key to you breaking out as a sophomore?
Tenpenny: Just my faith in God. Also, the faith I had in my teammates and the faith my coaches had in me. It sort of surprised me, but overall I knew I had it in me.

ESPNHS: What was your experience at The Opening like last summer?
Tenpenny: It was great. I love to compete, so what better way to compete than against 150 of the top players in the nation? My favorite part was coming in second [in the SPARQ Finals] and talking to guys like Ray Rice, Aaron Curry and Jerry Rice.

ESPNHS: What went into your decision to commit to Alabama?
Tenpenny: I've always been a big fan of them. There's a lot of tradition at that school, my family said they enjoyed it when they went, and the coaches, fans and players I met were all real cool. It just felt like the right place for me.

ESPNHS: Did your injury have anything to do with you committing early?
Tenpenny: No, not really. I just didn't want to focus on all the letters and who's interested in me during my senior year. I wanted to have that out of the way and focus on winning a state championship with my team.

School: North Little Rock (Ark.)
Class: 2013
Position: Running back
HT: 6-0
WT: 200
College: Alabama

Movie: “Friday Night Lights”
Athlete: Chris Johnson
School Subject: English
Food: Cheese dip
Team: San Diego Chargers
Song: "Hometown Hero" by Big K.R.I.T.

Brandon Parker covers high school sports for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.
George WilsonRick Stewart/Getty ImagesBills safety George Wilson was a star wideout in high school and college but made the rare transition to starting at safety in the NFL.
There is something special about senior year in high school. It’s a particularly bittersweet time, the pinnacle of the high school experience meets the final year enjoying the friendships and familiarities developed over years.

For high school football players, it’s a similarly sentimental time, as it marks the final season spent under the Friday night lights. We spoke with several NFL players to discuss what makes this time in life so unique, and to share some of the lessons they’d like to impart to the Class of 2012. Our first installment featured Rams rookie defensive end Robert Quinn and the lessons he learned during a trying season. In our second edition we spoke with Cleveland Browns tight end Ben Watson. This past week we profiled Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant and how he overcame a tough neighborhood and found his path to a long and rewarding football career.

In this week's installment we spoke with Buffalo Bills safety George Wilson about his challenging path to the pros and how his high school career helped shape his future.

Check back every Wednesday for the next two weeks for another installment of Senior Season.

George Wilson’s path to becoming a standout NFL safety was long and winding and required substantial sacrifices along the way. He learned to love the game at a young age, watching his older brother play for Paducah Tilghman (Paducah, Ky.) versus Mayfield (Ky.) in the storied Kentucky high school football rivalry.

“There is just so much history and tradition in this deep-rooted rivalry,” Wilson said of the football conflict that dates back to 1911. “I remember watching the pep rallies as a kid and looking forward to the day that I’d be in the games playing for Paducah. No matter our records this was the game of the year. We had Mayfield Week; we’d have events all week and it would culminate with the burning of Mr. Mayfield. Art students at our school would make a fake football player out of chicken wire and stuff him with newspaper and hay and at the pep rally he’d get thrown into the bonfire and everyone went crazy for it. It’s a bitter rivalry, but also one of deep respect and it’s always in good fun.”

When Wilson went to his 10-year reunion at Paducah Tilghman a few years ago, he and his former teammates shared stories about the good times.

“Most of what we really remembered were the little things,” Wilson said. “Making jokes on the bus rides and the times in the locker room. Some crazy plays made at practice or how hard two-a-days were and running the stadium stairs was. We talked about some games, but most of what seems important years later were the friendships and bonds we all made during those years growing up. It was just a really special time in our lives.

“For me, what I remember clearly was the feeling in the huddle and looking around and knowing that I grew up with these guys and how we were all in it together,” said Wilson.

As a two-time all-state wide receiver Wilson was heavily recruited and ended up playing for Houston Nutt at Arkansas. He ended his Razorbacks career second all-time in receptions and third all-time in receiving yards in school history. But when it came to the NFL, he went undrafted and signed with the Detroit Lions shortly after the 2004 draft. He was relegated to special teams and practice squad duties until a rare opportunity presented itself in 2007 while with the Bills.

“I had been in the league for three years and wasn’t really seeing the field as a wide receiver,” said Wilson. “But I did well on special teams and coaches saw how aggressive and fearless I was. In college, my position coach, James Shibest, taught me that I need to focus on becoming a great football player, and not just a receiver, and I took that to heart. I was asked to make a position change to safety, and I hadn’t played defense since high school. I knew this could be my way onto the field and I didn’t take it as an insult, but rather that they appreciated something in me that I was able to make such a tough transition. For any player being asked to make a really tough decision like this, try and focus on the team and how you might be able to help.

“I had the chance to broaden my football knowledge and use the tools I learned as a wide receiver for so long in this new role,” said Wilson, who has thrived as starting NFL safety and team captain ever since making the shift. “To be a part of a team you have to truly put the team first and make sacrifices. If this meant that I needed to learn an entirely new position and say goodbye to the one that I had worked on for so many years, then that is what the team needed.

“My first NFL start was on Monday Night Football against the Cowboys, the team I grew up watching in my living room, and I hadn’t made a catch or clearly ever scored a touchdown in the NFL after years as a wide receiver. On the third play of the game Tony Romo overthrew Jason Witten and I intercepted it and took it in for a touchdown. It was a little piece of heaven; eight to 10 seconds of joy after 16 years of hard work. It was all worth it.”

POWERADE FAB 50 Regional Scoreboard

August, 28, 2011
EAST Region Top 20
1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) season starts Sept. 10
2. Pittsburgh Central Catholic (Pittsburgh, Pa.) season starts Sept. 4
3. Phoebus (Hampton, Va.) season starts Sept. 2
4. Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) season starts Sept. 3
5. Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) season starts Sept. 2
6. Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) 1-0 def. Maryland Christian (Bel Air, Md.), 68-9
7. Allentown Central Catholic (Allentown, Pa.) season starts Sept. 3
8. Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) season starts Sept. 2
9. Holy Spirit (Absecon, N.J.) season starts Sept. 9
10. Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) season starts Sept. 9
11. Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.) season starts Sept. 1
12. Everett (Everett, Mass.) season starts Sept. 9
13. St. Anthony's (Melville, N.Y.) season starts Sept. 9
14. North Penn (Lansdale, Pa.) season starts Sept. 3
15. DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) season starts Sept. 3
16. Piscataway (Piscataway, N.J.) season starts Sept. 1
17. St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) season starts Sept. 2
18. Martinsburg (Martinsburg, W. Va.) 1-0 def. Sherando (Stephens City, Va.), 7-0
19. Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.) season starts Sept. 2
20. Central Valley (Monaca, Pa.) season starts Sept. 2

SOUTHEAST Region Top 20
1. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 1-0 def. Prattville (Prattville, Ala.), 34-31
2. Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.) season starts Sept. 2
3. Butler (Matthews, N.C.) 1-1 def. Olympic (Charlotte, N.C.) 70-6
4. Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) 1-0 def. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), 20-17
5. Prattville (Prattville, Ala.) 0-1 lost St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 34-31
6. South Panola (Batesville, Miss.) 1-1 lost Hoover (Hoover, Ala.), 24-13
7. Lincoln (Tallahassee, Fla.) season starts Sept. 2
8. Brookwood (Snellville, Ga.) 0-1, next game Sept. 2
9. Cocoa (Cocoa, Fla.) 0-1 lost Colerain (Cincinnati), 17-7
10. Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) 2-0 def. Edgewater (Orlando, Fla.), 49-21
11. Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) 1-0 def. Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.), 14-3
12. Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) 1-0 def. Ballard (Louisville, Ky.), 68-0
13. Maryville (Maryville, Tenn.) 2-0 def. Alcoa (Alcoa, Tenn.), 26-19
14. Miami Norland (Miami, Fla.) season starts Sept. 1
15. Hoover (Hoover, Ala.) 1-0 def. South Panola (Batesville, Miss.), 24-13
16. West Monroe (West Monroe, La.) season starts Sept. 1
17. Alcoa (Alcoa, Tenn.) 1-1 lost Maryville (Maryville, Tenn.), 26-19
18. Daphne (Daphne, Ala.) 1-0, def. Bryant (Irvington, Ala.), 41-14
19. Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) season starts Sept. 2
20. Plant (Tampa, Fla.) season starts Sept. 2

MIDWEST Region Top 20
1. St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) 1-0 def. Glenville (Cleveland), 17-14 OT
2. Harrison (Farmington Hills, Mich.) 1-0 def. Cass Tech (Detroit), 43-7
3. Trinity (Louisville, Ky.) 2-0, def. Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville, Tenn.), 66-21
4. Maine South (Park Ridge, Ill.) 1-0 def. Warren (Gurnee, Ill.), 40-12
5. St. Xavier (Cincinnati) 1-0 def. Springfield (Springfield, Ohio), 30-7
6. Warren Central (Indianapolis) 2-0 def. Indianapolis Cathedral (Indianapolis) 27-24
7. Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) 1-0 def. Wheaton-Warrenville South (Wheaton, Ill.), 21-7
8. Highlands (Fort Thomas, Ky.) 1-0, next game Sept. 1
9. Detroit Catholic Central (Novi, Mich.) 1-0 def. Fordson (Dearborn, Mich.), 42-0
10. Cedar Falls (Cedar Falls, Iowa) 1-0 def. Hempstead (Dubuque, Iowa), 49-3
11. Ursuline (Youngstown, Ohio) 0-1 lost Red Lion Christian (Bear, Del.), 54-18
12. Eden Prairie (Eden Prairie, Minn.) season starts Sept. 1
13. Austintown Fitch (Youngstown, Ohio) 1-0 def. Harding (Warren, Ohio), 28-7
14. Canton (Canton, Mich.) 1-0 def. Walled Lake Central (Walled Lake, Mich.), 42-14
15. Joliet Catholic (Joliet, Ill.) 1-0 def. Carmel (Mundelein, Ill.), 32-31
16. Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio) 0-1 lost Moeller (Cincinnati), 14-0
17. Fishers (Fishers, Ind.) 1-1 lost Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.), 28-7
18. Wheaton Warrenville South (Wheaton, Ill.) 0-1 lost Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), 21-7
19. East Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 1-0 def. Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.), 21-10
20. Iowa City (Iowa City, Iowa) 1-0 def. Dubuque (Dubuque, Iowa), 28-0

SOUTHWEST Region Top 20
1. Allen (Allen, Texas) 1-0 def. Cedar Hill (Cedar Hill, Texas), 28-13
2. Katy (Katy, Texas) 1-0 def. North Shore (Houston, Texas), 34-6
3. Euless Trinity (Euless, Texas) 1-0 def. Robert E. Lee (Tyler, Texas), 30-7
4. Jenks (Jenks, Okla.) season starts Sept. 2
5. Aledo (Aledo, Texas) 0-1 lost Stephenville (Stephenville, Texas), 48-47
6. Pearland (Pearland, Texas) 1-0 def. Madison (Houston, Texas) 45-24
7. Union (Tulsa, Okla.) season starts Sept. 2
8. Coppell (Coppell, Texas) 1-0, def. Horn (Mesquite, Texas), 20-7
9. Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) 1-0 def. Westlake (Austin, Texas), 35-7
10. Denton Ryan (Denton, Texas) 1-0 def. Sulphur Springs (Sulphur Springs, Texas), 25-9
11. Rockhurst (Kansas City, Mo.) 1-0, def. Blue Springs (Blue Springs, Mo.), 35-20
12. DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas) 1-0 def. Leander (Leander, Texas), 43-3
13. Stony Point (Round Rock, Texas) 1-0 def. Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (Monterrey, Mexico), 16-14
14. Steele (Cibolo, Texas) 1-0 def. Madison (San Antonio, Texas), 35-28
15. Lawton (Lawton, Okla.) season starts Sept. 2
16. Lee’s Summit West (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) 1-0 def. Ray-Pec (Peculiar, Mo.), 49-13
17. Midwest City (Midwest City, Okla.) season starts Sept. 2
18. North Shore (Houston, Texas) 0-1 lost Katy (Katy, Texas), 34-6
19. Cedar Park (Cedar Park, Texas) 0-1 lost Westwood (Round Rock, Texas), 21-13
20. Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) vs. Central Arkansas Chrisitan (N. Little Rock, Ark.), Aug. 29

WEST Region Top 20
1. De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) season starts Sept. 2
2. Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo, Calif.) season starts Sept. 2
3. Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) 1-1 def. Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, Ariz.), 22-21
4. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 1-1 lost Armwood (Seffner, Fla.), 20-17
5. Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) season starts Sept. 1
6. Mullen (Denver, Colo.) season starts Sept. 2
7. Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, Calif.) 1-0 def. Monterey Trail (Elk Grove, Calif.), 35-6
8. Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) 1-0 def. Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, Ariz.), 17-7
9. Bellevue (Bellevue, Wash.) season starts Sept. 3
10. Centennial (Corona, Calif.) season starts Sept. 9
11. St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.) season starts Sept. 9
12. Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) 2-0 def. Alta (Sandy, Utah), 21-18
13. Grant (Sacramento, Calif.) 1-0 def. Folsom (Folsom, Calif.), 43-16
14. Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.) season starts Sept. 2
15. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.) season starts Sept. 3
16. Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) season starts Sept. 2
17. Aloha (Beaverton, Ore.) season starts Sept. 2

18. Centennial (Peoria, Ariz.) 1-0 def. Kellis (Glendale, Ariz.), 52-7
19. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM, Calif.) season starts Sept. 2
20. Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 2-0 def. Mountain Crest (Hyrum, Utah), 35-14

Elite 11 Tracker: Winston starts strong

August, 24, 2011
ESPNHS will follow the weekly progress of the ESPNHS Elite 11 quarterbacks during their senior seasons. In addition we will track the top quarterback performances from around the country. The Elite 11 Tracker will be featured every Wednesday.

With just a few states kicking off this past weekend, it was one the Elite 11 MVPs who shined and put on the best performance. Recent Florida State commit Jameis Winston was unstoppable, passing for a touchdown and rushing for an additional four scores leading Hueytown to a win. Gunner Kiel, Patton Robinette and Patrick Towles each led their squads to victories as well.

Austin Appleby, 6-4, 225, Hoover (North Canton, Ohio)
Committed to Purdue
This week: vs. Stow-Munroe Falls (Stow, Ohio)

Connor Brewer, 6-2, 190, Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Committed to Texas
Last Week: 11-of-26 for 198 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in a 42-22 loss to Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Season totals: 11-of-26 for 198 yards, three touchdowns and one interception
This week: at Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, Ariz.)

Read More »

Top Arkansas junior RB injured

August, 20, 2011
North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) junior running back Altee Tenpenny suffered a fractured fibula Friday night in a scrimmage and will miss the next 4-6 weeks.

"One of my teammates horse-collar tackled me and when he came down he landed on my ankle," said Tenpenny of the injury.

"My ankle is just slightly sprained but I fractured my fibula (the smaller of the two leg bones) in three places. The trainers and doctors tell me I'm out for 4-6 weeks."

Tenpenny, a 5-11, 198 pounder, ran 1,232 yards and 15 touchdowns last fall as a sophomore and broke onto the national scene this summer at "The Opening" on the Nike Campus where he posted a 133.77 SPARQ Rating to finish in the top five of the SPARQ Rating National Championship. He has already collected verbal scholarship offers from the likes of Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma and others.