Cobb County

Former metro Atlanta football player dies in state park

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — What was supposed to be a fun summer weekend with friends turned into tragedy when a teen died jumping into a creek.

Police say Mason Tompkins, 18, jumped from a rock into a creek at an Alabama state park and didn’t immediately resurface.

Tompkins played football during his time at Harris High School in Cobb County.

Mason Tompkins 

Channel 2’s Chris Jose went to the school Sunday evening where Tompkins’ friends gathered and left a small memorial in honor of No. 75.

Michael Toache fought back the tears as he reminisced about happier times with Tompkins, who he’s known since 6th grade.

“Mason is a great guy,” Toache told Jose.

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On Saturday, Tompkins was at High Falls State Park in Alabama with friends. The park manager said a nearby swimmer witnessed the teen jump off a rock.

Search efforts quickly turned into a recovery mission. Mason's friends back home found out a few hours later.

“We were talking with his mom and his dad,” friend Preston Plumley said. “They could be better, but they're doing better than I thought they would.

Friends told Jose that Tompkins’ family is finding comfort through faith and friendship.

Sunday night, Tompkins’ teammates left roses for in the shape of the number 75 on the football field at Harrison High -- the number Tompkins wore when he played football there.

“Everybody loved him. and he loved everybody. just amazing,” Toache said.

The empty stadium brought back some vivid memories.

Friends shared pictures of Tompkins with Jose. One of those photos clearly shows the lineman's popularity.

“He was a teddy bear. He didn't want to hurt anybody,” Plumley said.

At 6 feet tall and 215 pounds, Mason was headed to Berry College to play football.

The college even welcomed Tompkins on its incoming football roster:

“Tompkins joins the Vikings after a strong career at Harrison High School. He helped anchor the offensive line that advanced to the second round of the state playoffs and was selected as the player of the week for his efforts during the season."

Justin Fields, Harrison's quarterback who is considered among the top recruits in the nation in the Class of 2018, was among those who tweeted his condolences.

His friends and his school will always remember his time under the lights.

An official cause of death is under investigation.

Visitation on for Tompkins is scheduled for Wednesday at West Cobb Funeral Home. A private funeral will follow.