Nearly three months after his death in a one-car accident, Altee Tenpenny is still a big part of Alabama’s game day preparation.
The Crimson Tide continue to wear black “28” helmet stickers. Running back Kenyan Drake slips on a gigantic “RIP 28” wristband. Tenpenny’s former teammates and coaches hold a bit of regret inside, too.
Speaking with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi, Tenpenny’s mother, Shenitta Shephard, said Alabama coach Nick Saban was distressed after the former Tide back’s death.
“He wondered if he somehow let Altee down,” Shephard said.
In the same television package, Drake expressed second thoughts of his own.
“It just kills me to think about it,” he said. “Just ’cause, that was my friend, man, and I knew I should’ve kept in a lot more contact than I did.”
Tenpenny transferred to UNLV following last season, but was kicked off the team before playing a down. He wound up at Nicholls State, where he was arrested in mid-October and subsequently suffered his fatal crash.
Perhaps Tenpenny’s best friend at Alabama was Heisman Trophy-winning running back Derrick Henry, who gave Tenpenny a shout out at the award ceremony last month.
“I felt like I owed that him just ’cause of how much he believed in me,” Henry told Rinaldi. “And I just wanted to make him proud. That’s my brother.”