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Wednesday, May 1, 2013
2014 PSU spotlight: OT Alex Bars

By Josh Moyer

Over the next few months, NittanyNation will look closer at the 2014 recruits who claim offers from Penn State. Today we examine ESPN 150 offensive tackle Alex Bars, who received a PSU offer earlier this year.

Vitals: OT Alex Bars, Nashville (Tenn.) Montgomery Bell; 4 stars, No. 55 in ESPN 150; 6-foot-6, 285 pounds

Offers: He holds more than two dozen and is one of the most coveted offensive linemen in the country. His offer sheet reads like a who's who in college football, with offers from the likes of Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford and more.

Numbers game: OK, so we don't exactly have stats for linemen, so we'll go a different route with the numbers in this edition -- his measurables. Bars reports running a 4.92-second 40-yard dash, a 31-inch vertical leap, a 300-pound bench press and a 425-pound squat. If those numbers are accurate, that means Bars actually has a greater vertical jump than a lot of receivers.

Scouting report: "He displays good hip and ankle flexion with good initial quicks. He demonstrates the ability to come out of his stance with low pads and hip roll at contact and with good knee drive can generate push off the ball in the run game. Can narrow base and needs to continue to improve strength to allow him to generate push with better consistency. Gets hands on, though he needs to continue to work on placement. Shows some good finishing toughness. While he needs to improve footwork, he demonstrates the ability to be able to develop into an effective zone blocker. ... Bars is a tackle who is stronger as a run blocker at this stage but has good ability to develop into a well-rounded tackle at the college level." -- ESPN scouting report

Memorable highlight: He might be a better run-blocker right now, but his awareness was on display during a pass play at the 2-minute mark right here. On the opponent's 38, Bars picks up a defensive end. With a collapsing pocket, the quarterback scrambles and the left guard then blocks that DE once Bars pushes him back some. Bars spins around, sprints toward the QB and blocks a would-be tackler right before he makes the sack and -- voila -- six-yard gain.

State of the position: The Nittany Lions plan to take just one offensive tackle -- possibly two if a certain junior college prospect decides to commit -- so it's aiming for quality here. At this point, PSU will have four returning scholarship tackles on its roster in 2014, so it certainly could use one more body. It wouldn't be a surprise if a recruit here sees situational time as a rookie.

What has caught Penn State's eye: Bars has the quickness to get to the second level, and he has the ability to step in and see playing time as a freshman. He and Andrew Nelson could form quite the duo once Donovan Smith graduates, and PSU is excited about Bars' upside.

What are Penn State's chances? Low-medium. Bars is a little tough to read, but he's currently considering Penn State, Notre Dame, Michigan and the SEC. But most predictions -- including ESPN's earlier this week -- believe he's headed to Ann Arbor. Although his brother, Brad Bars, plays for PSU, he also boasts family ties at UM and ND. PSU is not the favorite right now.

Quotables: "My brothers don't have any effect on me at all. They want me to come to their schools, but they're not going to put that much pressure on me. They're going to realize it's my own deal."