Tomlin Bonding with Future Teammates

MARIETTA, Ga. --- Since committing to North Carolina about a month ago, Tyrell Tomlin and the four other Georgia prepsters whose names are found on the Tar Heel commitment list have begun to form a bond.

"The other day, we were at a photo shoot and we were talking about college," Tomlin said. "The defensive lineman from Hillgrove, Bradley [Chubb], he's going to NC State, so we were going at him about North Carolina and NC State.

"It's great to go to college with people that I played against – basically my rivals. And now I'll be playing with them and we'll be trying to take over at North Carolina."

Specifically, Tomlin, a 6-foot, 215-pound linebacker from Marietta (Ga.) High, has bonded with Cameron Albright, Allen Artis, and Caleb Samuel. The quartet played in the Rising Seniors Georgia Junior Bowl last December.

Those four plus Ayden Bonilla, a safety from Woodstock (Ga.) Etowah, make up nearly a quarter of UNC's 2014 recruiting class.

Tomlin was the last of the five to verbally commit to UNC. In the weeks leading up to his decision, he conversed with Albright.

"He didn't try to persuade me, but he was just telling me good stuff about North Carolina," Tomlin said.

What did persuade Tomlin was UNC's academics.

"The academic program at North Carolina is great," Tomlin said. "That's what I was really thinking about was my academics. A degree from North Carolina will certainly help me out in life."

Tomlin received an in-depth look at UNC's academic program during a July visit. A few days later, he pledged to the Tar Heels.

"I learned that basically North Carolina is going to stick with me and help me out with my academics," Tomlin said. "That's important, because I've had struggles sometimes. That's basically going to help me out to where I need to be."

Tomlin's struggles will force him to pay extra special attention to his academics in order to became a qualifier.

"I have some work to do with my SATs, but I'm going to get there," Tomlin said. "Coach [Walt] Bell and I had a talk. He wasn't concerned or anything, but he just stressed to me that I have to work hard."

On the football field, UNC projects Tomlin as a weak-side linebacker. For Marietta, he has starred at middle linebacker, where he accumulated 128 tackles (96 solo) including 19 for a loss and 5 ½ sacks as a junior. To help with his collegiate transition, the Marietta coaching staff will slide Tomlin over to weak-side linebacker this coming season.

"They're getting me ready," Tomlin said. "But I feel like I can play any linebacker position on the field."

Besides his commitment clinching visit in July, Tomlin attended a junior day at UNC. He says his next visit will likely be his official trip.

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