Since West, UNC's linebackers coach, is the assistant that Tomlin, a linebacker from Marietta (Ga.), will spend the most time with once he arrives on campus in June, developing a relationship was important. However, that importance was heightened when Walt Bell left UNC for Arkansas State. During Tomlin's recruitment, Bell, who recruited the Marietta area for UNC, was Tomlin's primary contact.
While West's and Tomlin's conversations have attempted to elude football talk, it has crept into the discussion from time to time.
"They want all freshmen to come in and play special teams," Tomlin said. "They also want me to compete for the middle linebacker job."
Whichever – if any – special teams units Tomlin finds himself on could affect the jersey number he sports at UNC. He discussed continuing to wear his high school number, No. 1, with Larry Fedora during his January official visit. Fedora said he'd grant his wish as long as Tomlin didn't project on the same unit as Khris Francis, a running back who currently bears that digit.
"There's really no significance to [No. 1]," Tomlin said. "It's just a cool number."
Tomlin has worn No. 1 for Marietta since his sophomore season. As a freshman on varsity, he wore 27.
Tomlin tentatively plans to share a suite with fellow signees Cameron Albright, Ayden Bonilla, as well as fellow linebacker Cayson Collins. Albright and Bonilla live within 20 minutes of Tomlin. Albright's and Tomlin's high schools are in the same conference and thus have actually played against each other the past two seasons.
A third former Cobb County product, Allen Artis, enrolled at UNC in January and participated in spring practice. On a couple different occasions – most recently when he returned to Marietta for his high school prom – Artis has shared his college experiences with Tomlin.
"He told me there really wasn't a difference, it's just faster and you have to be in shape," Tomlin said.
That advice has shaped Tomlin's workout routine, which incorporates the regimen UNC's strength and conditioning staff sent the signees. That routine is heavy on conditioning. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, he runs 300-yard shuttles, while Tuesdays and Thursdays include 18 100-meter dashes.
"I've noticed that I'm more fatigued than I was before," Tomlin said.
In spite of the conditioning work, Tomlin weighed in at 235 pounds on Tuesday – up ten pounds from his senior football season playing weight. That gain is even more dramatic when his basketball season's weight loss is factored in.
Another focus of Tomlin's is the NCAA Clearinghouse. He projects to have a qualifying core GPA, but is still working on his test score.
"I recently qualified, but my ACT they took my scores away – [the Clearinghouse] flagged me," Tomlin said.
To be deemed qualified, Tomlin's score in either the SAT or ACT would have to match up to his core GPA on the Clearinghouse's sliding scale. He is scheduled to take the SAT on Saturday and again on June 7. He'll also likely take the ACT on June 14.
"I'm not worried about it," Tomlin said. "I know I'm going to get it."
Tomlin plans to major in economics, with a minor in entrepreneurship.
"I was looking at business first, but I really want to start my own company and I feel like entrepreneurship will really help me," Tomlin said. "Economics is something that interests me and I'd like to try."