Tight end Major Tennison was looking for a program with a “winning tradition and continual excellence.”
So the four-star recruit left Texas and came to Alabama.
It was what felt right after he visited campus this fall. He had plenty of other opportunities, including Michigan, Florida and Arkansas. He committed to Texas during his junior year before backing off that pledge in the summer.
“I have no hate toward the University of Texas, but I’m here at the University of Alabama and that’s all I’m concerned about,” he said.
He jumped on board with Alabama’s class after attending the Crimson Tide’s 33-14 win over Texas A&M last fall. Tennison’s high school is less than three hours from Texas A&M and less than four from the University of Texas, but Alabama is where he wanted to be. He arrived in Tuscaloosa from Class 4A Bullard High School in time for classes in January, and he’ll participate in spring practice.
“It’s been different,” Tennison said. “Coming from a little high school in east Texas to the University of Alabama, it’s quite a change. But I’ve enjoyed it. Everyone has been extremely helpful. I’m just excited for each day.”
Wednesday was a quiet day for Tennison. Other high school athletes have the spotlight on them as they announce their decision and celebrate their college choices, but all that was already done for Tennison and Alabama’s 11 other early enrollees. His ‘Welcome to college’ moment happened weeks ago.
“It definitely hit me when I walked in the locker room and saw my name up on the nameplate above my locker,” Tennison said. “I was like ‘Wow, I’m at the University of Alabama to play football now.’ It was extremely exciting. It hit me. I know I have to come to work every day harder than the day before.”
Alabama landed two tight ends in its No. 1-ranked recruiting class, and both are four-star prospects from Texas. Kedrick James, from Waco, signed his letter of intent on Wednesday. He’ll join Tennison on campus this summer. Tennison said he and James know each other well, and they’re excited to play together.
He’s had some time to get to know current teammates as well. He and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa have been able to throw some passes on their own before spring practice begins.
Early enrollees Alex Leatherwood and Major Tennison are already fitting in with @AlabamaFTBL #BamaNSD17 #NSD17 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/xlgGfeL4hh
— Alabama Athletics (@UA_Athletics) February 1, 2017
The offseason conditioning program has also begun. Tennison isn’t just learning about his new teammates, but also strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran.
“My high school did a great job of weight lifting and I’m very thankful for it, but it’s a lot different here,” he said. “It’s been challenging and intense but I love it. It’s what I signed up for and I don’t regret it a single bit.”
Tennison said he weighs about 235 pounds now, and would like to be closer to 245 or 250 pounds by the time the season begins. The potential to play is there, with O.J. Howard and Brandon Greene both gone.
During his visit, Tennison saw Howard catch a season-high eight passes against the Aggies. He liked what he saw.
“He’s obviously an extremely skilled tight end and I think anybody would like to be like him,” Tennison said. “But I’m just trying to do Major Tennison. However that ends up, ends up being that way.”
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.