Rivals.com - Tennessee first to offer in-state 2020 DE Tyler Baron
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Tennessee first to offer in-state 2020 DE Tyler Baron

The Latest: It’s safe to say that Tennessee had an early advantage in scouting Class of 2020 defensive end prospect Tyler Baron. After all, his father Patrick Abernathy serves at the Tennessee football director of high school relations and he’s been a regular in Knoxville over the past few years. So when he picked up an offer from the Vols late in the fall, some thought it might be a favor to the family. But after schools like LSU, Michigan, Oregon and others have intensified interest over the past two months it’s clear Baron is on his way to being a national level prospect. Rivals.com caught up with Baron to talk Tennessee and his plans for visits this spring.

In His Words: “When I first got the offer I was really excited and it was just good to know that my hard work is paying off. Obviously being around the program and having my dad there makes me feel more comfortable but they let me know that I earned it and they are recruiting me just like anyone else. Since they offered me and my dad have talked about it and I’m going to go wherever is the best fit for me, whether it’s Tennessee or not. But Derek Barnett is one of my favorite players and a guy I model my game after so it’s nice to know I can potentially follow in his footsteps.”

On visits: “We’re going to sit down and see where I want to take visits this year. I don’t want to take a lot of visits and go to schools that I’m not really going to consider. I’m just trying to be smart about the whole process.”

On the one offer he wants: “Alabama is one I would like to get. I just like the program and the way they develop defensive linemen. Jonathan Allen is a guy I look up to and I like his game.”

Rivals Reaction: Make no mistake, Baron is well on his way to having offers from plenty of Power Five programs and likely most of the SEC before it’s all said and done. He plays like a prospect well beyond his years and will only to continue to get better as his career moves along.