He’s been a linebacker from the very beginning and it didn’t take a whole lot of guidance from coaches for him to see a play develop and stop it before it develops. He just wrapped up the final year of his Marietta career with 109 tackles, had four interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and one sack.
“He sees it very quickly and has the athletic ability to get to what he sees,” Marietta coach Scott Burton said. “Some linebackers can diagnose plays quickly but can’t get there in time. He has a great blend of the two.”
With his leadership and ability to attack the football, Tomlin anchored a defense that kept the Blue Devils in every game en route to an 8-3 record and a trip to the Class AAAAAA playoffs.
The 6-foot, 225-pound, North Carolina commitment, was named Cobb County/Marietta Daily Journal Defensive Player of the Year, primarily for his ability to plug holes.
When asked about his senior season, Tomlin said he was all about being a team player and help put his defense in position to win every game. Marietta’s most lopsided loss of the year was 13 points against McEachern.
“I played for my team,” Tomlin said. “I was all about helping them get better as well as getting myself better and putting us in situations to win and have a really good season.”
Tomlin’s best game statistically ended up being Marietta’s do-or-die game against Harrison on the road in the regular season finale. Tomlin totaled a school-record 23 tackles in that game and helped the Blue Devils make a late fourth quarter defensive stand to win 31-27 and keep their season alive.
Marietta’s season came to a painful ending when Lovejoy threw a 47-yard touchdown pass as time expired to win 27-23 and spoil the Blue Devils’ upset bid.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, Tomlin lists that game as one of the best he’s ever played. His first half interception helped Marietta take a halftime lead. He had two interceptions in the game.
“I wanted to take us further into the playoffs,” Tomlin said, “But I had to leave it all on the field, play for the person beside me and help my teammates.”
Tomlin began his football career as an outside linebacker before moving inside his sophomore year. He doesn’t get to the quarterback much, as his one sack on the season would indicate, but he can track down opposing running backs. He can use his speed to get through the offensive line and stop the ball carrier before he finds running room.
He continued to develop at that position by adding strength and size.
“More was asked of him this year,” Burton said. “He was more experienced (than last year) and had a bunch of games under his belt. We put more on his plate because we knew that he could handle it. He responded great as we knew he would. He was much more consistent and you expect that out of a great player his senior year.”
Early in the season, Tomlin intercepted a pass and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown to help set up Marietta’s 63-13 win over Pope in a non-region game.
Two weeks later, Tomlin experienced his only setback when he suffered a concussion against McEachern and had to miss the following game.
His first game back from injury turned out to be one of his bigger ones against Kennesaw Mountain. His first half interception led to a field goal, giving Marietta separation before winning 49-31. And he constantly gave the Mustangs fits when they attempted to run the ball.
“One of the things we tried to do is put a hat on the hat and block him,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Andy Scott said. “Sometimes that was not possible. He was great at stopping the run.”