Blake Bars update

James Franklin has done a good job with gaining commitments from some of the top in-state players like Brian Kimbrow, Caleb Azubike, and Barrett Gouger for this year's class. Although Nashville's Blake Bars committed to Michigan in June, the staff is still trying to work their magic on the highly sought-after offensive tackle.

"There are schools still pursing me," said Blake Bars. "I've received many letters from Vanderbilt as well as a multitude of calls from schools that have always been high on me. As far as taking any official visits other than to Michigan I don't plan on it."

Bars, a 6-foot-6, 280-pounder, committed to Michigan over Vanderbilt (one of his first offers), Notre Dame (where his father, Joe, and uncle, Mike, played) Penn State (where his brother Brad currently plays), Boston College, Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia.

"Coach Hoke and Coach (Darrell) Funk, the line coach, are very positive and are changing the culture up there," said Bars on Michigan, "and I could really grasp that. It's great for players to be able to see all of that positive energy.

"Michigan offers great football and great academics, so I feel like it's the full package. We lived up there for 11 years. Go Lions! We still have relatives near Ann Arbor, but I committed there more because it just felt right."

The Bars' family moved from Trenton, Michigan to Nashville in 2003. They have sent their sons Brad, Blake, and Alex to Montgomery Bell Academy, an all-male college prep school. Vanderbilt's Hunter Hillenmeyer, who went on to an NFL career with the Bears played at "MBA."

"This year has not gone as well as we hoped," said Bars. "We're 3-5 with two games left, but the good thing is every team in our league makes the playoffs. We're working better as a unit, and despite our record I think we're hitting our peak."

Marty Euverard took over as MBA head coach this year after Daniel McGugin resigned. Although the record reflects the transition, Bars says his game has taken a leap forward as a senior.

"I've been working on a lot of the little things with my line coach," Bars said. "Improving my footwork, hand placement, and overall fundamentals is definitely going to help me out. I feel like I've become a better pass blocker this year. In the off-season I worked at getting stronger and faster. I'm also up about 20 pounds from what I played at last year."

Bars was named first team All-State (TN Division II-AA) as a junior and was named Tennessee Top Ten for 2012 by Murphy Fair. He played right tackle last season for the Big Red, but moved to left tackle this season.

"Michigan wants me to play left tackle," said Bars. "That's where they said they'd start me out at and go from there. I'm willing to play wherever on the line for a chance to get in.

"I think I'm going to wait until after the season to take my official visit to Michigan so I can relax and enjoy the visit. I am planning on being at the Michigan-Ohio State game November 26th."

Bars competes in the shot put and discus for the MBA track and field team. He also boxes at a Nashville gym to improve quickness of his hands and feet. He says his brother, Brad, at Penn State, has been recruiting him the hardest.

In a couple of years current MBA sophomore defensive tackle, Alex Bars, could be pulled in a number of directions with brothers at different schools and living in SEC country.

Bars also has family ties to Michigan State. His mother, Sally Proctor Bars, was on the swim team and his maternal grandfather, Jim Proctor, played football for the Spartans. His grandfather, Joe Bars Sr., was a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

MBA will play at McCallie in Chattanooga in their next game. Bars, a two year starter, wears No. 67 for the Big Red.

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