Alex Bars is a player who has had a lot of Michigan buzz around him for a while, and is a name you might recognize. His older brother, Blake Bars, was an offensive lineman commit in the 2012 class. Alex is a 6’6”, 290lb OT prospect from Nashville, Tennessee (Montgomery Bell Academy). It appears as if Alex is the better of the two prospects coming out of high school, coming in as a 4-star and the #11 OT, #134 prospect nationally, while Blake was rated as 3 stars according to 247Sports Composite Ratings. He has offers from national heavyweights such as Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, ND, Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia, South Carolina, Nebraska, and Arkansas (247Sports). So what could the younger Bars potentially bring to Michigan?
The first thing that I notice about Alex is his ability to block in the run game. At 6’6”, Alex does a good job of keeping his frame low and delivering a solid hit to the defender. He is able to lock on to a defender and finish the play (usually ending in a pancake) without holding. Alex appears to have a strong base, as he is able to put defenders back on their heels and drives them that direction on almost every run play. It’s worth noting that he can occasionally get too high when approaching a block, but it’s a very infrequent occurrence and one that reflects discipline more than ability. There were also a few plays where he came in with his weight too far in front of his body, although at this point I am just nit-picking. His high school team utilizes him often as a guard on run plays, which is a testament to his run blocking skills and ability to drive the interior of the DL back. Alex shows a knack for pulling from the guard position, and he moves well laterally when blocking for runs to the outside. And what about that mean streak that Michigan fans love to hear about? Yeah, he’s got that too.
When it comes to Alex’s ability to protect the QB on passing plays, my opinion is not complete. Watching his tape it is clear that Alex has all of the tools to be an effective pass blocker and potential LT: he comes off the ball quick, displays adequate footwork, has good length, and solid fundamentals for a high school prospect. My hesitation comes with his actual display of pass blocking. It’s not that he does a bad job as much as it is an issue with a lack of good footage.
First, he was beaten around the edge a couple of times, which is concerning for a player who could be tasked with protecting the quarterback’s blind side. I don’t think that he doesn’t have the physical tools to prevent that, but there isn’t much tape showing him protecting the edge well enough to base an opinion off of. Secondly he doesn’t really receive difficult pass rushing threats. The level of competition that he is playing against in the video is questionable, and making college predictions based off of the available evidence in his film could be misleading. Simply, I think Alex looks to be solid in the passing game from what I can tell, but that opinion could be fluid due to a low amount of pass blocking film.
Alex also provides a handful of plays with him starring on the DL, but his role is clearly on the offensive line. His time spent on D should be useful when it comes to his development on the offensive line; if he knows how to fight against blocks, then he should have a better understanding of how to combat those techniques.
Overall, Alex is a strong OL prospect and one that Michigan would really benefit from bringing in. Recruiting on the OL has been phenomenal for Brady and Co., but many of the players brought in project to the interior of the line. I think Alex could step into either guard position and perform well, but where Michigan really needs him is at tackle. He has the quickness and length to protect the outside, and his OT title from the four main recruiting sites supports that belief. Due to my hesitations of his ability to protect the blindside, I’ll go ahead and place him as a probable RT coming into college. If his pass blocking is as good as his rating would indicate though, he could contribute on either side.
It seems as if Michigan is a major player in his recruitment, and should be until the end. Blake attending Michigan plays a major role in their chances, but fighting off schools such as Tennessee and Florida won’t be easy. It’s hard trying to predict where he will end up. Michigan appears to be as much in it as every other school, but Alex will probably continue to keep his cards close to the vest. Stay tuned for more on his recruitment, and everything else related to Michigan recruiting. As always, Go Blue!
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