May 18, 2013, 4:04 AM EDT
The future depth chart along the offensive line for Notre Dame just received another star-studded name when Tennessee’s Alex Bars gave his verbal commitment to the Irish coaching staff. The 6-foot-6, 280-pound linemen picked Notre Dame over an elite offer list, turning down Michigan, Ohio State, LSU, Penn State and Stanford among a slew of other top programs.
Bars is following in his father’s footsteps, as his dad Joe played for the Irish from 1981-1984. But the sway of a family connection wasn’t the only thing factoring into the decision, as Bars has a brother on the offensive line at both Penn State and Michigan, two schools that recruited the four-star prospect heavily. Home state Tennessee made a huge push with Bars as well, as did Ohio State and Urban Meyer.
What most teams see in Bars is a very athletic big body, and a lineman that is showing technical skills to match. If Bars does actually measure out at 6-foot-6, that’s plenty of height to play tackle for the Irish, giving this recruiting class a nice combination of inside and outside players, with Quenton Nelson and Bars looking like tackles and Sam Mustipher and Jimmy Byrne profiling as guards.
With depth dangerously low along the offensive line at portions of this season, Brian Kelly, Chuck Martin and Harry Hiestand committed to restocking the cupboards. They’ve done so in fairly miraculous fashion. It’s still too early to know how well these players will develop, but from a recruiting profile point-of-view, here’s what the Irish have done so far, with one spot likely still open in the ’14 class for an elite target.
Offensive line recruiting ’13-’14
The only lineman in that group that didn’t garner four stars from Rivals was Colin McGovern, who was good enough to get an offer from Nick Saban and Urban Meyer.
Bars announced his commitment on Twitter and also made probably the comment of record ($) to Irish Illustrated’s Jake Brown when discussing his decision:
“I thought about it real hard for like the last month,” Bars said. “Pressure started coming on and spots started filling up. I just realized that was the school for me.”
Those spots are now filled with four very highly rated linemen, and Bars the highest ranked player, currently No. 55 in the Rivals100. He’s the tenth verbal commitment in the Irish recruiting class.