6’5″ 260 pounds; Hometown: Knoxville, Tenn.
Sticking with players who graduate from Knoxville Catholic High School, Tyler Baron immediately lived up to expectations for Tennessee football as the program’s new starting defensive end last week. Given the fact that Byron Young was ruled ineligible for that game, more pressure was on Baron to perform, and he didn’t disappoint.
Baron had two tackles, a sack and a pass deflection. He should have been given credit for two sacks. On the one he did get credit for, though, he shut down a drive that would have made it a 14-10 game late in the second half, so his big play was critical.
The Pittsburgh Panthers can be prone to allowing sacks. They allowed one last week against a horrendous UMASS Minutemen team. As a result, this is a weakness the Vols can exploit. Tim Banks needs to turn the tables on what Pat Narduzzi likes to do.
Guys like Roman Harrison and Ja’Quain Blakely can also be useful off the edge, but Baron is the rising star of the group. This is a game made for him to be a breakout superstar, and if the Vols are going to have any chance, that’s exactly what he needs to do. A couple of drive-killing sacks by Baron could be the difference in this one.