TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Amid another wildly successful season for Alabama, the team has also been forced to cope with a devastating loss.
In October, former Crimson Tide running back Altee Tenpenny tragically died in a single-car accident, after which current players offered an outpouring of sympathy and prayer toward their fallen teammate and his family on social media.
On Wednesday, linebacker Reggie Ragland revealed that Tenpenny’s untimely passing is still on players’ minds — so much so that they are planning to dedicate the 2015 season to his memory.
“We think about him all the time. He was our brother,” Ragland said. “He’s always been our brother. Of course this season is for him.”
Capping a challenging 2015 campaign with a national championship would only make that dedication sweeter for the Crimson Tide linebacker. But to do so, he and his defensive mates will have to handle a dangerous Clemson offense during Monday’s College Football Playoff title game (8 p.m. ET kickoff, ESPN).
For Ragland, who as a freshman watched former teammate C.J. Mosley take home MVP honors in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game, it’s a task he naturally relishes — both to honor Tenpenny and in having the chance to stand in the shoes of a current NFL star, whom he considers a mentor.
“It feels great, just watching some of the things he did,” Ragland said. “He was the one who taught me everything about the defense, the things I should do on the field and shouldn’t do. Made me the player that I am.”
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