In Hebrew, Bar means wild. While it's not the perfect description for West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade offensive tackle Bar Milo, who's going to argue with a 6-foot-6, 305-pound Texas-bred Israeli?
Born in Houston to two Israeli parents, Milo's story is about as untraditional as one can get. His parents -- born in northern Israel, as was his brother -- had no concept of college sports before coming to the United States. Now, they're going to have to get familiar really quickly with the NCAA, as their little boy just pulled down his first scholarship offer from California this week.
"It came really by surprise," Milo said. "I wasn't really ready for it. I've been around a lot of scouts lately, and it was a big honor. I love how he gave me this shot, and it's really big for me. My family is really excited. Everyone's proud of me, and the school is absolutely amazing, so it's obviously big for me. I'm obviously looking past college to the NFL, but I also want a great education, and I know Cal can give that to me."
In Israel, after high school, young men spend a compulsory three years in the Israeli Defense Forces, while women serve two -- but now that Milo has the opportunity to not only play college football, but to also attend a prestigious university, they're all for it.
"I'm really glad that my parents decided to come to America," Milo said. "I wouldn't have had the chance to be going on a full-ride scholarship to a school which is going to give me a great education. It's a great opportunity for me. My parents aren't even really thinking about the football. They're really just thinking, ‘Wow, my son's going to go get a great education sooner, and later, is going to get a good job and lead a successful life.'"
Of course, the Bears are no strangers to tackles of the Semitic persuasion; four-year starter Mitchell Schwartz grew up in a Conservative Jewish household, and now starts in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns.
"If I could make it there, that would be great," Milo laughed.
Even Milo's offer, though, was far from business-as-usual. While offensive line coach Zach Yenser was quite high on the 2015 prospect, he didn't even know that defensive backs coach Randy Stewart -- on the road in So Cal this week -- was going to extend the offer after seeing him in person. Stewart was impressed enough to pull the trigger, and after speaking with Yenser, Milo said, the first-year coach couldn't be happier that he did.
"I didn't really get the full experience of the offer, because I was right on my way out of lifting that day, and he was talking softly, so I heard ‘scholarship,' but I didn't know at that moment," Milo said. "After I found out, it was really overwhelming, and it's a really big moment for me and a really big step ... I got a chance to talk to [Yenser] the morning after. I was in my football class – that worked out really well – and he chatted me up. He was telling me how he thinks I'd go great with the program and my grades are really solid, so that's always a plus. I hope to make my way out to Cal to meet him in person and see the team."
Milo is the prototypical tackle in the Tony Franklin system – long and lean. Part of that comes from playing basketball. Milo played varsity hoops as a freshman, but has since decided to focus on football. That doesn't erase what a little roundball did to help his overall athleticism.
"Basketball was really good for my football skills," Milo said. "It gave me good footwork, and I learned how to go up and down the court -- being that I played for longer than I did football -- and after my freshman year, I didn't get that much playing time in basketball, so I decided that football was my future, and I stuck with it."
A 3.5-GPA student, Milo benches 280 pounds, cleans 285 and snaps 195. He plans on coming up soon to visit Cal and get to know the coaches and players.
"I obviously know that Cal has a really good football program, but I want to go there in person just so I can meet players and see the coaching staff," he said.
No Holds Bar-red
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