|Blake Bars (#67)|
Nashville, TN, offensive lineman Blake Bars committed to Michigan on Sunday. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Boston College, Clemson, Florida, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Mississippi State, Penn State, Purdue, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Virginia, among others. His other two finalists seemed to be Penn State, where his brother plays linebacker, or the hometown Vanderbilt Commodores.
Bars is a 4-star recruit to Rivals, but only a 3-star to the other three major services. He's the #34 offensive tackle to Rivals, #38 to Scout, and #56 to ESPN. He stands 6'5" and 275 lbs., benches 310 lbs., and squats 425.
I would be curious to find out how Bars appeared on Michigan's radar. There are various ways that coaches find out about players (privately hired scouting services, word of mouth, the internet, high school coaches sending game film, etc.), but Bars has an aunt who lives in Ann Arbor and a grandmother who lives in metro Detroit. It seems like more than a coincidence that Michigan ended up offering a kid from a state that Michigan hasn't recruited much. Only two other players from Tennessee have Michigan offers: wide receiver Drae Bowles and running back I'Tavius Mathers. The last Michigan players to come from the Volunteer State were the Brackins brothers (Eric and Phillip) and behemoth fullback Sean Sanderson a decade ago.
As for Bars' future, he stated that the coaches want to start him off at left tackle. And who am I to argue with the coaches?
Well, I'm a blogger, and that's what bloggers do, dammit. The kid looks like a guard to me. Maybe a right tackle, but not a left tackle. He doesn't have a great first step or a great initial punch, and those things concern me, period, let alone for a blindside protector. There are times where it looks like he has a little too much weight on his heels coming out of his stance, and he could afford to lengthen his first step a couple of inches. It seems like sometimes he takes a false step by picking his foot up and putting it right back down in almost the same place. When engaged with defenders, he also tends to overextend himself and get himself off balance. Good opponents, especially ends and tackles who practice these things, will toss him to the side if he tries that with them.
Hopping in my DeLorean, though, I have a fledgling theory that left tackle might NOT be a blindside protector by the time Bars sees the field. Since freshman offensive lineman typically redshirt, he'll be a redshirt frosh in 2013. That's the same year that highly touted quarterback Shane Morris will hit campus. Highly touted left-handed quarterback Shane Morris. Ah-ha! So it's quite possible that when Bars is playing left tackle in 2013-16 (or something like that), Bars will be protecting Morris' front side.*
Frank and Joe Hardy ain't got nothin' on me.
I do think Bars is a solid addition, especially if Michigan can pick up one or two more highly touted linemen. He's not at the head of the class, but he's a kid who likes to finish blocks, has the frame to play at well over 300 lbs., seems conscientious and well spoken, and has family connections in the area. That ought to keep him around for the duration of a career that could see him develop into a solid starter at the tail end, as a redshirt junior or senior.
*I realize that Devin Gardner will still probably be around in 2013, Russell Bellomy might be the starter, etc. Obviously, we're getting way ahead of ourselves when projecting the starting QB position three years down the road.
TTB Rating: 71