Photo by Derrick Mahone
Former Henry County football standout Dalvin Tomlinson.
College football message boards — especially those rooted in the Southeast — can’t help themselves. Given individual pieces of information — a high school football signee, mysterious “knee injury,” surgery and a national championship-winning program — they take the narrative to where it can easily go with Alabama, Nick Saban and recruiting these days.
And so the news of former Henry County football standout and Alabama signee Dalvin Tomlinson’s injury was met on message boards — how will Nick Saban figure out how to jettison his broken recruit?
Officials in Alabama’s athletic department answered that hot topic, telling media outlets that Tomlinson’s injury “doesn’t change anything in terms of him coming,” and that they expect Tomlinson to enroll on time as planned.
Tomlinson, a 6-foot-3, 270-pound defensive lineman who started on varsity the past three seasons for the Warhawks, was a last-minute grab for Alabama on national signing day. Tomlinson chose the Crimson Tide over Georgia Tech and Georgia.
According to Tomlinson’s former football coach, Mike Rozier, the senior suffered his injury almost three weeks ago, and hasn’t been back to school since. Henry County schools are currently on spring break.
Tomlinson decided to play on the school’s varsity soccer team for the first time in his high school career. Rozier said Tomlinson had spent the previous three springs as a member of the track and field team, competing in throwing events.
The freak nature of Tomlinson’s injury had college football fans thinking back to Alabama, Saban and North Atlanta running back Justin Taylor. Taylor was Alabama’s No. 7 verbal commitment for its 2012 signing class. Alabama honored Taylor’s commitment, even when he missed his senior season with a knee injury.
Until signing day approached. After being committed to Alabama for nearly a year, Taylor was told just weeks before signing day that he couldn’t sign with the Crimson Tide in 2012. He was given the option to “grayshirt” or delay enrolling at Alabama in 2013. He signed with Kentucky. Meanwhile, Alabama got a commitment and signature from a more-highly rated running back.
Rozier said he doesn’t think Tomlinson’s standing with Alabama is in jeopardy.
“[Saban] won’t do that to this kid,” Rozier said.
Indeed, Rozier said Tomlinson was willing to take a redshirt for the upcoming college football season before he signed with Alabama.