Watch Marietta linebacker Ty Tomlin play football, and you'll know exactly why he's nicknamed, "The Phenom." Get to know more about that "Phenom" in my one-on-one with the Marietta senior as he prepares for Friday's rivalry game against the McEachern Indians.
Me: Where did you originally get your nickname, "The Phenom?"
Ty: Me and two other friends, we were just talking one day and we were just talking about sports and they came up with theirs, which are "Super Fly" and "Prophet" so I decided to call myself "The Phenom." I came up with it myself.
Me: Do you remember the moment you knew you loved the game of football?
Ty: My eigth grade year was my first year playing football. In my first game, I just fell in love with the game. I can't really explain it, I just fell in love with the game. Playing, the fans, I'd never been in that type of environment so it really just got to me.
Me: You're committed to UNC, the first school that gave you an offer. How do you balance the excitement of knowing you're playing college football next year for the Tar Heels versus focusing on staying in the moment and finishing out your high school football career the best that you can?
Ty: I really don't think about my college career much yet. I'm just focusing on my team and just thinking about what we can do to get better and just basically, try to win region and go to state. I don't really think about college yet.
Me: What is your favorite aspect of being a student-athlete at Marietta High School?
Ty: The teachers--they really help us. They don't just leave us out to dry and they push us to be what they know we can be.
Me: Is it difficult to balance school work and studying with long practices and football-related commitments?
Ty: Coach Burton makes sure that we get everything done. He lets us out at a decent time so we can get home and do our homework and then we have study hall. He thinks the "student" part should come before the "athlete" part so he really helps us out in that way.
Me: What do you plan on studying in college?
Ty: Most likely, education.
Me: What are the goals you've set for the remainder of your senior season?
Ty: Winning region with my team and enjoying my last year with my friends and just improving as a team.
Me: Would you say that you're the leader of your defense?
Ty: Yes, I would.
Me: Are you a quiet leader or a vocal leader?
Ty: At times, I can be a quiet leader or just lead by example on the field. But most of the time, I'm vocal.
Me: Big rivalry game Friday night with McEachern. I've heard there's some competition between your schools about who the "real MHS" is. Why would you say that Marietta is the "real MHS?"
Ty: Well, Marietta was a school first and I would say we're the real MHS. We have the most tradition. We're not really the hyped team that McEachern is but when we play McEachern, it's really always a very competitive game. So I would say that we're the "real MHS."
Me: What are you most looking forward to in Friday's game?
Ty: It has to be playing McEachern at Northcutt Stadium.
Me: What's it like playing in such an old stadium?
Ty: I like playing between the rocks. All the other teams that come play there, they're not used to the field. But we're used to it so it's basically a big advantage for us and I just like playing between the rocks and looking up and seeing the stands and how tight the sidelines are. Just seeing our fans and seeing how much they're supporting us is so exciting.
Me: Describe your student section in one word.
Me: What gets you the most pumped up during games?
Ty: I'm really in my own zone so I get myself pumped up but other than that, it would probably be the bands. There's this one song that they play that really gets me pumped up.
Me: Tell me one thing about you that not many people know.
Ty: I'm shy.
Me: Who would you say has supported you most along your football career?
Ty: My mom. She's always there.
Me: Does she ever come out to practices?
Ty: She's at every practice and every game. My sister is in youth league cheerleading and they practice after us so she goes to both practices back-to-back.
Me: Which do you enjoy more: film study or getting out on the field to run drills and scrimmages?
Ty: I like the film because it gives us an advantage. We can look at the other team's formations and see what's coming. Me: Do you get nervous before games?
Ty: Yes, I still get the jitters.
Me: What do you do to calm those nerves?
Ty: When I'm with my team, we all sit around and pray and do a team prayer and it really just calms me down and gets me ready for the game.
Me: What would you say makes you the linebacker that you are?
Ty: Playing for my grandmother and playing for my mom. It's not really for me, I just play for them.
Me: What is the biggest strength you bring to your entire Blue Devils team?
Ty: The fact that I'm a vocal leader, my speed and quickness, and getting my team pumped up and ready.
GPB's All-Access Pass show comes to you live at 7pm, from the historic Northcutt Stadium (built in 1940!) The stadium will be a tight squeeze but all the better for that up-close-and-personal...intense...loud...football environment! Am I right!?
It's Blue Devils versus the Indians and we can't wait to see you there.