PHOENIX — Dalvin Tomlinson wasn’t really wishy-washy about it at all. Had Kirby Smart been at Georgia when Tomlinson was in high school, he’d probably be a Bulldog today.
“He probably would have changed my mind back then,” said Tomlinson, a 6-foot-3, 294-pound junior from McDonough. “I grew up a Georgia Bulldog fan but, in the end, I just wanted to be coached by Coach Smart. That’s pretty much what made me come to Alabama back then.”
As it is, Tomlinson is a regular in the Crimson Tide’s ballyhooed defensive line. While he hasn’t started this season — or in his career, for that matter — Tomlinson has played in all 14 games and been very productive while doing so. He has 33 tackles, four quarterback hurries and is fourth on the team in pass break-ups with six, all via deflections at the line of scrimmage.
Tomlinson played a similar role the previous season, playing in every game but starting none. He had 5.5 tackles for loss, among the best of the interior linemen.
When Tomlinson emerged as a recruiting prospect at Henry County High, he was certain he’d go to Georgia if he had the opportunity.
Then he met Smart.
“My first two years in high school I really wanted to be a Bulldog,” he said. “My junior and senior year Coach Smart started recruiting me. I started going towards Alabama. It felt like home.”
Smart will no longer be around after Monday night’s national championship game. He’ll take over then as Georgia’s full-time head coach.
“I’m proud of him,” Tomlinson said. “I’m glad he got the opportunity to get the job he always wanted. I hope he does great down there at UGA.”