Tennessee football recruiting made the cut for another in-state prospect. The Volunteers are in the top five for Knoxville, Tenn. defensive end Tyler Baron.
With 13 commitments and a recruiting class outside of the top 30, Tennessee football still has a lot of work to do for 2020. The Vols got one step closer to making a major jump in those rankings on Friday evening.
Local defensive end Tyler Baron, one of many talented in-state guys for 2020, trimmed his list to five schools, and the Vols were in it. This was an expected move, but it’s still a good sign for Jeremy Pruitt nonetheless.
In addition to Tennessee football, Baron had the Oregon Ducks, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners and Kentucky Wildcats. So the five schools stretch across four different conferences. Baron announced his list on Twitter.
A four-star on Rivals, Baron comes out of Knoxville Catholic High School in Knoxville, Tenn. Standing at 6’4″ 250 pounds, he is ranked the No. 6 strongside defensive end nationally on Rivals and the No. 3 player overall within the state of Tennessee.
Luckily for Pruitt, the Vols are in great shape to land him. First, there are major connections. According to Ryan Callahan of GoVols247, Baron is the son of Patrick Abernathy, who works with player development on Pruitt’s staff.
Two of Baron’s Knoxville Catholic teammates, Keshawn Lawrence and Cooper Mays, have also already committed to UT. And he’s good friends with Lawrence. Finally, one major threat was the Virginia Tech Hokies since Baron’s brother, Woody Baron, played for them. But VT didn’t make the cut for his top five, so that’s one major competition for the Vols now gone.
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Because of all this, the Vols are the unanimous favorites on the Rivals FutureCast and the 247Sports Crystal Ball to land him, and they are a majority favorite on the Rivals FanFutureCast. So Baron is a perfect target for Pruitt to try to build up Rocky Top’s 2020 class.
Currently, UT only has five four-star commitments or greater for its 2020 class, which is why it is ranked No. 32. One of them is a junior college transfer, and they have suffered two four-star decommitments as well.
Simply put, Tennessee football has a lot of improving to do for this class. As a four-star edge rusher, Baron could fill two needs by boosting this class and providing more depth at an area where Pruitt said they were a bit thin at SEC Media Days.
Taking all this into account, this is very good news for Rocky Top. The Vols have to land Baron, and they got one step closer to doing that with the news that came out Friday. With Darrell Taylor graduating after this year, Pruitt needs more than Baron if he wants to improve his depth among edge rushers. But Baron is clearly a great start if UT can get him.