Yes, Tyler Baron's father, Patrick Abernathy, works in player development for the Tennessee football program. No, that doesn’t mean Abernathy is steering his son, a 2020 four-star defensive end, toward the Vols. Instead, both Baron and Abernathy are searching for the right fit. “He really hasn’t been pushing me,” Baron told GoVols247, “but of course that’s my dad, so that’s going to have an impact on my decision in the long run. “But he hasn’t really been pushing me to go anywhere, he just wants me to find where I feel like I best fit, then go there.”
He was on campus for Tennessee’s cookout Saturday, describing the event as a “good atmosphere.” “So far it’s been going great,” Baron said of his recruitment. “I’ve trying to get closer to Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt, Coach (Tracy) Rocker, Coach (Chris) Rumph. Getting close with those guys and seeing how it is.” When it comes to who is chasing him the hardest, Baron said there isn’t one school “that sticks out more than most,” but the Vols are up there.
“Tennessee is definitely recruiting me hard,” he said. “Just being an in-state guy, they’re preaching that to me a lot.”
And Tennessee’s new staff has his attention with the message. “It’s just how focused they are,” Baron said of the difference he sees in Pruitt’s staff. “A lot of staffs, the ones I’ve encountered, they’re going to preach to you to have fun and stuff, but this one, really, it’s going to be fun but it will be fun in winning. “That’s what I feel like the difference is.”
Baron has recently visited Clemson, Virginia Tech and Alabama. He said at the moment he hasn’t yet made plans for future visits.
Listed in the 247Sports database as a weak-side defensive end or outside linebacker, Baron said he’s being recruited by most schools as a defensive end or tight end, and that he prefers defensive end. “I like to ask the coaches where they see me fitting in,” Baron said of what he’s looking for in a school, “if they have a plan where I could play in their defense, be a part of that and make plays.”
“It was fun just hanging out with the guys and talking to coach Pruitt,” Baron said. “It was all abou hanging out. They know how I feel about Tennessee.”
After an impressive spring on the camp circuit, Baron picked up offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Nebraska and FSU, among others. He holds more than 20 scholarships, with UT, Alabama and Virginia Tech among the schools currently recruiting him the hardest.
The Vols like Baron mainly as a 5-technique end, but also see the Nashville native as a versatile athlete who could play some tight end. Like his teammate and fellow top Tennessee target Keshawn Lawrence, UT’s new staff is “really preaching about staying home as an in-state guy.”
Saturday’s cookout was “really just getting closer with my guys, talking about what we’re thinking about with school and where we want to go. Just getting closer with Tennessee.”
As a sophomore for the Tigers, Baron had two sacks and four tackles for loss. He’ll see more snaps this fall though, and hopes to help Ensworth make a deeper playoff run. He has no finite visit plans for the season just yet, but he’ll very likely be back on Rocky Top sometime soon.
“Right now, I’m trying to get us that golden ball this year,” he said.
SDE Tyler Baron, Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth – The younger brother of former Virginia Tech standout Woody Baron, Tyler has the physical upside to project a number of different ways and we expect a breakout season from the 6-4.5, 250-pounder if he stays healthy.