Former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Altee Tenpenny was killed in a tragic car accident, according to a report by AL.com’s John Talty. Tenpenny was highly-touted 4-star recruit when he committed to the Crimson Tide out of North Little Rock High School and was one of four running backs to sign with Alabama in the 2013 class along with Tyren Jones, Alvin Kamara and Derrick Henry.
Tenpenny served in a reserve role at running back for two seasons behind the likes of T.J. Yeldon before transferring to the UNLV Rebels—from where he was dismissed before the season—and eventually found his way to Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
The loss of such a talented player and more importantly well-liked young man has sent shockwaves through the college football world. A large number of Tenpenny’s former teammates took to Twitter and Instagram to post touching, heartfelt tributes and condolences to their lost friend; including players he competed with for playing time while in Tuscaloosa: Kamara, Henry and Kenyan Drake.
Each tribute is filled with personal details and memories of Tenpenny, but at the same time, each post describes two common attributes: his smile and his ability to keep his teammates positive when they weren’t at their best.
“But even through the bad times you always stayed the same and motivated me to be my best because you always saw the best in people,” Drake said in his post on Instagram.
The tears never stopped since I heard the news. I couldn't sleep last night thinking about the memories we shared from when you and @last_king_2 were juniors and I was a senior in high school at the opening just competing and having fun. We became friends then and I knew both of you were going to be special then and we all came to Alabama and became brothers. Anybody who knew you knew that this smile could light up a room no matter the circumstances. We went through a lot of growing up together those two years you were on campus because we both were hard headed and always seemed to stay in some kind of trouble. But even through the bad times you always stayed the same and motivated me to be my best because you always saw the best in people. And when we hit the field it was nothing but love even though we both played the same position and were battling for playing time. The advice you gave me will forever be engrained in my memory of you because I realize now more than ever that life is too short not to keep a big smile on my face like you always had. I know you had it rough this last year bouncing from school to school and in and out of trouble but one thing we could all count on was for you to keep smiling through it all. I know we all have a angel in the sky now smiling down on us. I love you lil bro. Fly high Tee! 🙏🏾
Kamara issued a similar sentiment. “They don’t know the Altee I know,” he wrote. “The Altee that kept me goin’ when I wanted to quit.”
Tee bra… It's crazy that I just talked to you yesterday. Ion know what it was but something told me to hit you up. Short conversation but that was all that was needed. You knew where I was coming from and I knew you would take what I said and run wit it. I been cryin so hard that I haven't even been able to look up to make this post, but I know i needed to because you was my brother. Nobody knows what we went through all them days when we was down and out. They just look at all the negative and nothing else ….. But they can't tell me nothing because I know you. They don't know the Altee I know. The Altee that kept me goin when I wanted to quit. The Altee that would give you his last knowing he would starve. The Altee that came and kicked it and made ya boy laugh when nothing was funny. I swear they don't know the real Altee and I can't stomach the fact that they don't. It's sad because you thought I held you down but in reality you was holdin me down bra. Not a day goes by that ion think about all the lessons we learned together. I just hate that you ain have enough time to turn them lessons into success. If somebody wasn't supposed to make it out of us two I for sure thought it would have been me.The only thing that's keeping my heart a little warm is that I know you got that ear to ear smile on ya face up there. And even then it still hurt because that smile could be down here helping someone get through their day. But God doesn't do anything on accident so maybe you got a job to do up in heaven bra. I love you wit all my heart Tee. My brother… My friend..Rest up.
It was the Altee Tenpenny that Kamara references that Alabama fans and college football fans across the country missed out on getting to know. The talented, hard-working player with a mile-wide smile.
Instead, because of trouble in stops at Arkansas State and Nicholls State, Tenpenny was placed with monikers such as “troubled” or “immature.” As his teammates point out, that simply isn’t the way that he deserves to be remembered.
Tenpenny had the talent to be a star on the field in Tuscaloosa, but the impact he apparently had on the teammates and those around him while at Alabama will always outweigh the significance of touchdowns and rushing yards.
Former teammates were far from the only ones to express grief over Tenpenny’s untimely death. Condolences also came from coaches that Tenpenny either played for or was recruited by, including Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
“It’s obviously a tragedy,” Saban said Wednesday morning, per AL.com’s Michael Casagrande. “This was a guy who was in our program and who was good friends with a lot of our players. We want to be as supportive as possible to all the people who are affected by this.”
Drake, Henry and Kamara will take the field against each other when Alabama takes on the Tennessee Volunteers inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kamara, who also transferred from Alabama, will be suiting up in orange.
Regardless of which team has the ball, it’s safe to say the impact of Altee Tenpenny will be felt on the field Saturday afternoon . It’s just a shame this tragedy prevented us from ever getting to know him ourselves.