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Tyreese Fearbry Bringing Finessee, Fight to Kentucky Pass Rush

Nick Roushby:Nick Roush05/17/24


When you scan through the Kentucky defensive depth chart, you’ll see junior or senior next to almost every player’s name. One of the few exceptions is Tyreese Fearbry. The redshirt sophomore is gearing up to be a game-changer for the Kentucky pass rush in 2024.

Fearbry was a significant recruiting win for the Wildcats in 2022. The 6-foot-5 EDGE from Pittsburgh was the No. 182 overall player in his class. Length and speed are the strengths of his game, setting him apart from his Kentucky peers.

It takes time for Brad White to prepare his outside linebackers to execute in the Kentucky defense. Last season he just got a taste of the action, particularly near the end of the season, posting five pressures in the Gator Bowl against Clemson. Now he’s ready to step into a bigger role for the Wildcats in 2024.

“I’m not going to say I’m taking it a lot more serious, but it’s so surreal to me now a this point,” Fearbry said during spring practice. “It’s like I have no time to be joking around. I’m on top of what I gotta do and I get it done.”

Fearbry takes an Unorthodox Approach

You probably noticed No. 42 making plays on special teams last fall. On more than one occasion he had to be separated by teammates who had to hold him back from mixing it up with opponents.

“We call him Angry Black Man,” JJ Weaver said after a spring practice. “He’s coming along a lot. With him, he just loses his temper a lot. Once we keep him under control, he’s a dominant force. He’s going to help me and Deone with the pass rush for sure.”

Fearbry has a mean streak and also a set of tools that differs from his counterparts. Weaver uses his size and strength to set the edge, whereas Fearbry relies on length explosiveness to defeat his opponent.

“I’ve always been a faster outside linebacker, a leaner outside linebacker, so I know using speed is to my advantage on the edge rush is helpful to me.”

He added, “I like to spin a lot. I like to inside spin and outside spin. I’m a finesse guy. I can go to power, but I like speed, to long-arm, I like the outside spin, inside, cross-chop. I like finesse moves.”

Those finesse moves aren’t commonly used in the SEC. Offensive tackle Gerald Mincey logged more than a dozen starts over two seasons at Tennessee and he was taken aback the first time he faced off against Fearbry.

“I call it unorthodox, but I’m just not used to it. He studies what you don’t do and that’s something I ain’t never really had practice with,” Minsey said in April. “Guys over at Tennessee, they were just fast up the edge. Up here, I got to really not kick as fast because they like to go to the inside, they like to bull rush, switch it up. They give me different looks that I’m going to see on Saturday.”

Kentucky was much better at rushing the passer in 2023, finishing ranked fifth in the league in sacks with 36.0. Most of those players are returning and now they have a new guy who’s adding something different to the equation.

Tyreese Fearbry could be the difference-maker that unlocks the Kentucky defense. We discussed exactly why on the latest edition of 11 Personnel.

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