Tyler Baron has family ties to the University of Tennessee, but his ability to reach the passer can carve a unique legacy of his own.
The second-year defensive end started 2021 with one sack and two tackles against Bowling Green in a potential start to a breakout campaign.
Here are three things to know about the 6ft 5in, 260lb Knoxville Catholic Alum:
Tennessee Flights selected from Ohio State, Kentucky
Baron’s recruitment has narrowed to the last three, including Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio State. But a final official visit to UT in mid-December 2019 set the stage for Baron to sign with the Vols.
âI could have gone to Ohio State and joined a program that was already built, but I wanted to go somewhere and be a part of something special was really one of the reasons ( I chose Tennessee) ” Baron said during his signing ceremony.
Baron’s father, Patrick Abernathy, is a support staff member of the Vols football program.
The 2020 season sets Baron up for stellar 2021
Baron had limited time in 2020, with the school crediting Baron with 250 snaps over 10 games as a backup defensive end.
Those 10 games were all against the SEC competition, but Baron, among several others, missed the few non-conference clashes that would have provided a good chunk of playing time. Still, Baron had three tackles for a loss and a sack. In first year.
Baron secured a starting spot in Tennessee’s top-seven for 2021 and flashed in Game 1 with a sack against Bowling Green.
A future first-round pick in the works?
No one can say that expectations for Baron’s career in Knoxville have been tempered. Knoxville Catholic coach Steve Matthews would not allow it.
“He will be a first round pick in the NFL Draft,” Matthews said to Baron and Kentuky coach Mark Stoops when recruiting Baron, according to a Knox News story in October 2020. “It doesn’t matter where he goes.”
Baron has the size and athleticism to be as good as anyone in the country, and the rest is up to him.
âThe future is before him,â Matthews said in that same October 2020 story. âI hope he takes advantage of his God-given physical gifts.â