ND A-to-Z: Alex Bars

Alex Bars turned Brian Kelly’s head during practice sessions leading up to the Music City Bowl. Bars’ profile has been on the rise ever since, finishing spring drills as Notre Dame’s first offensive lineman off the bench.

Alex Bars was a second-team All-USA Today prep All-American in 2013, leading Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville to a 10-2 record and the Tennessee Division II-AA semifinals before participating in the Under Armour High School All-America Game. He also played basketball and participated on the track team as a shot-putter.

The son of former Irish linebacker Joe Bars (1981-84), Alex’s brother Brad was a defensive end at Penn State while younger brother Blake is an offensive lineman at Michigan. Bars preserved a year of eligibility at Notre Dame in 2014 before beginning to blossom during pre-Music City Bowl preparation.

Best Case Scenario

Although it appeared as spring drills were ending that fellow classmate Quenton Nelson had the edge over Bars for the starting left guard spot, Bars probably would be considered the No. 6 offensive lineman on the 2015 roster, so if there is an injury or a bobble by any of the projected starters – particularly Nelson – Bars likely would get the call.

Worst Case Scenario

First guard off the bench. Juniors Hunter Bivin and/or Colin McGovern (who has practiced mainly at guard) are candidates to be the first tackles off the bench if it’s not Bars.

Career Comparison

Multiple comparisons can be made at this stage of Bars’ career after serving as a prep-teamer during his rookie season, and then putting himself in position to make a contribution in his first year of eligibility in ’15. Current starting center Nick Martin worked at tackle during his freshman red-shirt season, as did Bars, and then moved to the interior of the line before settling in as a center (not sure Bars will ever play that position) and guard following a thumb injury early in ’14.

Development vs. Recruiting Ranking

Bars, who chose Notre Dame over Michigan, was listed as a four-star prospect but was undervalued a bit as Scout’s No. 202 overall prospect and No. 14 offensive tackle. Since he appears to be a better fit for guard, perhaps he would have been ranked higher had he been evaluated as an interior offensive lineman. Bars is progressing right on schedule, if not a bit ahead of the pace.

Best Game

To be determined.

Quote To Note

“The freshman Alex Bars is one of the best I’ve seen in 25 years. He’s that good. Those (offensive linemen) ought to be nervous about whose job he’s going to take. He’s that good of a player. If there’s one offensive player I can point to, Alex Bars clearly is the guy that stands out on offense.”
-- Brian Kelly in December, 2014, when asked about freshman surprises during bowl preparation

 

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