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Alabama Football Family Mourns the Loss of Former Tide RB Altee Tenpenny

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama football team was stunned by the news that former Crimson Tide running back Altee Tenpenny had died in a car accident. 

Luke Matheson of ArkansasVarsity.com broke the news late Tuesday night, and AL.com confirmed it with Mississippi Highway Patrol early Wednesday morning.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Altee and his family," coach Nick Saban said during the weekly SEC teleconference with reporters. "This is obviously a tragedy. This is a guy who was in our program and was good friends with a lot of our players. We want to be as supportive as possible to all the people who were affected by this."

Numerous Alabama players took to Twitter to express their grief:

Senior running back Kenyan Drake also posted a lengthy statement with a photo on Instagram that included: "The tears never stopped since I heard the news."

Former Crimson Tide players chimed in as well: 

Tenpenny was part of Alabama’s illustrious 2013 recruiting class, which was expected to restock the backfield with Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, Tyren Jones and Tenpenny.

All were considered to be at least 4-star products by 247Sports, with Tenpenny, who was recruited out of North Little Rock High School in Arkansas, rated as the No. 5 running back in the nation and No. 51 overall prospect.

Only Henry remains on the Crimson Tide roster. He’ll be on the opposite sideline of Kamara when Alabama hosts Tennessee this Saturday.

In two seasons at Alabama, Tenpenny had 218 rushing yards and one touchdown on 48 carries. He left the Crimson Tide after the end of the 2014-15 season and announced his decision to transfer to UNLV in May, but was dismissed by coach Tony Sanchez in August.

Tenpenny subsequently enrolled at Nicholls State. However, according to the Thibodaux Daily Comet, he was arrested Sunday morning for possession of a firearm and discharging a weapon.

Nicholls State subsequently announced that Tenpenny has been suspended indefinitely. Earlier Tuesday, coach Tim Rebowe said during his weekly press conference that the running back was not expected to be back.  

“On behalf of the players, coaches, and all of us at the University, we are extremely saddened by the news of the passing of Altee Tenpenny,” Rebowe said in a statement Wednesday. “We extend our condolences to his friends, family and former teammates.”

Tenpenny was heading back home to Arkansas when his car collided with a highway sign in Glen Allan, Miss., which is 170 miles southeast of his hometown of North Little Rock. The accident occurred at approximately 5 p.m.

He was 20 years old.  

“The entire Nicholls community is deeply saddened by the news of Altee Tenpenny’s tragic passing,” Nicholls President Bruce Murphy said in the same release. “Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his family, friends and many fans.”

This is the second time in recent memory that Alabama players have had to deal with the death of a former teammate, as offensive tackle Aaron Douglas died from a drug overdose at a house party in Florida on May 12, 2011—less than a month after the tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa.

The 21-year-old had participated in spring practices after transferring from Arizona Western College and initially playing at Tennessee.

"We do everything we can to support the players in every way," Saban said. "We do have counseling programs and we do have counselors, sports psychologists and psychiatrists we use to try and help the players any way that we can."

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Christopher Walsh is a lead SEC college football writer. Follow Christopher on Twitter @WritingWalsh.

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College Football Picks for Week 8: B/R Experts' Predictions for the Top 5 Games

Oh, what a difference a week makes. While Week 7 of the college football season offered up some great games—and one one of the most unlikely endings ever—this week's slate of action leaves a little something to be desired. 

There is only one matchup between teams both ranked in the Top 25, and the rest of the games, while they could be competitive, aren't likely to produce any major upsets. Regardless, that's why they play the games. Here's hoping these five games can produce the same kind of drama as last week. 

The marquee game of the slate is an SEC tilt between two teams looking to regroup. Ole Miss, after leaving the Liberty Bowl in Memphis with a surprising loss, hosts Texas A&M at The Grove. Similarly, the Aggies, after getting thumped by Alabama last week, will try to stay in the hunt for the SEC West title. Kyle Allen's three pick-sixes against the Tide spelled doom, and Ole Miss's fiesty secondary will be in the mood to show it's much better than it played last week. It'll be an intriguing game in Oxford. 

Elsewhere in the SEC, Alabama hosts Tennessee. In a rivalry game that has lost a bit of luster recently, the Vols hope to keep the momentum going from their upset of Georgia two weeks ago. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs was the catalyst for the Vols offense that day and must do the same against a Bama defense that is starting to show signs of being a dominant unit once again. 

In the ACC, sixth-ranked Clemson heads to Miami to face the Hurricanes. This is the first of two straight road games—the other next week at NC State—before a possible undefeated showdown with Florida State. Miami has a good quarterback and playmakers on offense and could shock the Tigers if they lose focus. But Clemson's offense is also starting to round into form, and its defense is one of the best in the country. 

A month ago, Texas Tech came within one play of knocking off TCU in Fort Worth. This week, the Red Raiders hope to close the deal and pull off an upset as the Oklahoma Sooners visit Lubbock. The Red Raiders' high-powered offense looks to keep it rolling against the Sooners, who put together their best performance on both sides of the ball in a 55-0 drubbing of Kansas State in Manhattan. The scoreboard operator will be on high alert in this one. 

Out West, the best game on the Pac-12 schedule sees Utah visit USC. The Utes, led by a swarming D and hard-nosed running back Devontae Booker, face a tough challenge against a resurgent Trojans squad. The Utes will look to remain unbeaten and keep their playoff hopes alive. Meanwhile, after a week of turmoil, the Trojans came out and showed themselves well in a tough environment against Notre Dame. They've responded and will look to not only spoil Utah's run, but also try to salvage this season with an improbable Pac-12 South title.

Lead Writer Adam Kramer continues a small lead over our group of experts in the standings going into Week 8. Be sure to hit up the comments section with your thoughts on these games, and your picks as well.  

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Cordell Broadus, Snoop Dogg's Son, Comments on Football Career

Former UCLA recruit Cordell Broadus provided some insight about his decision to end his football career in a message posted on social media Tuesday that wished his father, rapper Snoop Dogg, a happy birthday.

Broadus, a 4-star prospect coming out of high school based on 247Sports' composite rankings, didn't show up for the program's fall camp. Head coach Jim Mora later explained the wide receiver had decided to pursue "other passions," including film.

The announcement came as a surprise given his potential as a football player and his dad's love for the sport, though he'd long been a fan of the Bruins' rivals at USC. A message posted by Broadus on Instagram shed some light on the situation:

I played football for my father because I thought that was the only way he would love me [and] be apart of my life. It took me 12 years to realize he loves Cordell Broadus the person not Cordell Broadus the football player. The best day of my life was when I heard those exact words; I love you dad hope you have a great birthday.

It's not an uncommon theme for young athletes to keep playing a sport with hope of continuing to please their parents. Snoop Dogg's love of football was further illustrated in the duo's documentary miniseries on ESPN, which was called Snoop & Son.

That said, it sounds like Broadus didn't share the same lasting love for the sport despite being so highly ranked as he arrived at UCLA. His heart was elsewhere, and that led him to walk away rather than make the commitment it takes to succeed at the collegiate level.

It's good to see he was able to reach an understanding with his father about the issue and that it didn't fracture the relationship. And if he ever gets the itch to play football again, his raw talent should ensure there will be a roster spot for him somewhere.

Dan Lyons of College Spun notes Broadus remains at UCLA as he works toward interests beyond the football field. On the flip side, 247Sports' commitment list shows the Bruins have landed three wide receivers for the 2016 class as they look to restock the receiving group without him.

 

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Damar Hamlin Tweets Top 4: Odds on Where 4-Star CB Lands

Prized Pennsylvania defensive back Damar Hamlin is primarily focused on four universities following his first official visit.

Fresh off a trip to Notre Dame, Hamlin listed the Fighting Irish in a group of favorites that also features Ohio State, Penn State and Pittsburgh:

The 4-star prospect anticipates official visits at each school, according to Brian Dohn of Scout.com, leaving the door open for a fifth and final destination before his decision. Dohn reports UCLA and Clemson are main contenders to fill that slot. 

Hamlin, a 6'1", 175-pound senior at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, is rated 14th nationally among cornerback recruits in 2016 composite rankings. He carries dozens of scholarship offers, including Stanford, Auburn, Michigan State and Tennessee.

Though a decision isn't expected until at least January, per Dohn, this recruitment officially reached crunch time with Hamlin's announcement. Considered the top 2016 defender in his home state, he has plenty to consider in coming months.

Based on developments to this stage, here's a look at how Hamlin's favorites stack up with commiment odds assigned to each team.

 

Pittsburgh: 5-to-2

Things seem to be trending toward his hometown team. The Panthers have gained recent momentum in the eyes of recruiting analysts, warranting five consecutive experts' predictions in his 247Sports Crystal Ball.

These sentiments are at least in part reactionary to a recent commitment from fellow 4-star defensive back Paris Ford. The local 2017 safety pledged to Pittsburgh last week and there have been previous indications he and Hamlin are a package deal.

Pairings like this are often difficult to pull off, particularly when prospects are part of separate recruiting cycles, but it's certainly a notable element in play. Hamlin, recruited by two Panthers coaching regimes, could also be swayed by Pittsburgh pledges from two high school teammates—safety Bricen Garner and defensive tackle Rashad Wheeler.

The Panthers currently rank 12th overall among FBS squads in passing yards allowed per game. A big-time local addition would further solidify the defensive secondary next season.

 

Ohio State: 3-to-1

Hamlin is scheduled to visit Columbus next month when the Buckeyes host Michigan State in a pivotal Big Ten Conference showdown. He impressed during a Nike regional event on campus this spring while wearing Ohio State apparel:

At the time, sources told Bleacher Report that Hamlin is among a select group of 2016 defensive backs head coach Urban Meyer is willing to wait on as long as it takes. The Buckeyes extended a scholarship offer to 3-star Georgia cornerback commit Malek Young this past weekend, which may come as a sign the coaching staff is starting to intensively explore alternative options at the position.

Hamlin, who attended Ohio State's Friday Night Lights Camp in July, has a strong impression of Buckeyes cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs.

"He's intense. He's always intense. I like that," he told Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com. "He knows what he's talking about. I came on a visit last time and we sat in a room and broke down my film and that was impressive to me that he would take out his time to do that just for me."

Ohio State holds a narrow advantage in Hamlin's Crystal Ball, claiming 36 percent of experts' predictions. 

 

Penn State: 4-to-1

Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin aims to make a major splash in the WPIAL league of Western Pennsylvania, an area that's vital to recruiting efforts in Happy Valley. Penn State identified Hamlin as an early priority, establishing itself as a mainstay among his potential landing spots.

Though it now appears Pitt has gained ground as his top in-state option, the Nittany Lions are undoubtedly a central part of this equation. Johnny Petrishen, Hamlin's former star Central Catholic counterpart in the defensive backfield, is now a Penn State freshman. 

Franklin continues to ardently pursue the Pennsylvania product and attended one of his games earlier this month, per Gary Horvath of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. In a fluid recruitment, it wouldn't surprise to see Penn State rise during the final stretch toward national signing day.

Hamlin is targeting an Oct. 31 game against Illinois for his next visit, per Tom Loy of 247Sports.

 

Notre Dame: 6-to-1

The Fighting Irish welcomed Hamlin to campus last weekend. He was hosted by freshman cornerback Shaun Crawford and watched Notre Dame defeat USC. 

"[Crawford] was real cool. He was telling me about the basic aspects of it and how his day goes, every day, and stuff like that. It was stuff that you couldn't just ask a coach," Hamlin told Loy.

Notre Dame landed his first official visit but now must attempt to weather the storm as he likely takes four more campus trips. That may put the Irish at a disadvantage during latter stages of his decision-making process, as Hamlin probably won't return to South Bend before signing day.

Defensive secondary coach Todd Lyght will continue to put in work here, but we view Notre Dame as a slightly distant underdog in this chase.

 

Tyler Donohue is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings. Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake.

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Altee Tenpenny, Former Alabama RB, Dies in Car Accident

Nicholls State and former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Altee Tenpenny died Tuesday night from injuries suffered in a single-car accident.

According to John Talty of AL.com, the wreck occurred outside Glen Allan, Mississippi, and resulted in the 20-year-old being ejected from his vehicle after hitting a highway sign and utility pole.

After news of his death broke, many remembered Tenpenny on social media, including former Alabama teammate Kenyan Drake:

Also, Arkansas recruiting analyst Luke Matheson of Rivals—who witnessed the North Little Rock, Arkansas, native's rise through the high school and college ranks—offered some kind words regarding the late running back:

Tenpenny was a highly regarded recruit in the Class of 2013 who originally played for the Crimson Tide. He tallied 218 rushing yards and a touchdown on 48 carries but found himself behind the likes of Derrick Henry, T.J. Yeldon and Drake on the depth chart.

The best game of his career came in November 2014 in a blowout win against Western Carolina when he carried the ball 11 times for 64 yards in relief of the starter, Henry.

Given the lack of playing time with the Crimson Tide, Tenpenny elected to transfer to UNLV in May. However, he was dismissed from the Rebels program in August for breaking team rules and joined Nicholls State during preseason practice.

Tenpenny was recently in the news when he was reportedly arrested for possession of a firearm and discharging a weapon, per Sam Cooper of Yahoo Sports. Nicholls State suspended him indefinitely from the football team in the aftermath of the arrest.

He never appeared in a game for Nicholls State.

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