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Irish A-to-Z: Alex Bars

May 5, 2014, 11:39 AM EDT

Alex Bars

Next month, Alex Bars comes to campus, adding another talented offensive lineman to Harry Hiestand’s fleet. The tackle prospect has the size and athleticism that made him one of the elite prospects in the country. Now he’ll have an opportunity to compete for playing time at a position that’s filled with young, promising personnel.

Bars follows in his father’s footsteps, with dad Joe playing linebacker for Notre Dame from 1981-84. His brother Brad is a senior defensive end at Penn State and brother Blake plays along the offensive line at Michigan. Only Alex received an offer from Notre Dame.

Let’s take a closer look at one of Notre Dame’s top incoming freshmen.

6’6″, 290 lbs.



A top 100-150 player, Bars is one of the elite offensive line prospects in the country. With offers from Florida, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State and Stanford (among many others), he fits the mold of a blue-chipper. Projecting where he fits in and how he’ll do at the college level is next to impossible until seeing him in South Bend, though the fact that his two brothers are part of major programs gives Bars an idea of the work that needs to be done to be a contributor at this level.

Bars committed to the Irish early, pledging in May as one of the key building blocks to this recruiting class. He played his high school football at Nashville’s Montgomery Bell Academy, one of the top programs in the area. He was an Under Armour All-American, second-team on USA Today’s All-USA team, and the Rotary Lombardi Chip Off the Old Block Award winner, for the South’s top high school lineman. All are strong data-points for the future.



Projecting what the Irish’s offensive line looks like in a few years is quite fun. With Ronnie Stanley entering his second year of eligibility and Mike McGlinchey a redshirt freshman, the tackle position looks fairly solid, with Steve Elmer the next man in if McGlinchey slips up.

While the starters seem to be in place, the tackle depth still isn’t ideal, though Bars and fellow freshman Quenton Nelson do quite a bit to solidify it. In the interim, both Hunter Bivin and Colin McGovern have been practicing on the outside, even though both projected to play on the interior of the offensive line.

But Bars didn’t come to South Bend to provide depth. And on paper, he’s every bit the prospect that Stanley or McGlinchey is. Physically, he’s the type of prospect that just about every program in the country wants to have on their roster. While a redshirt makes a ton of sense, we’ll see how he impresses the staff when he arrives on campus in June.



It’s getting clear that under Hiestand and Kelly, the best five linemen play. The past two seasons, they’ve shifted players to make that happen. So if Bars works his way into that conversation soon, he might find a role at right guard, where Christian Lombard departs. Nick Martin is the next lineman off the board after 2015, and at that point you begin to wonder what the optimum number is for the depth chart, with some fifth year options coming up that could be telling.

That Bars is in South Bend and not anywhere else tells you that he’s a prospect that this Irish coaching staff truly coveted. But he’ll likely spend his freshman season learning the ropes and hitting the weight room, as most freshman offensive linemen should. If Mike McGlinchey struggles at right tackle, Bars will challenge for the job in a year or two. Otherwise he could break into the rotation at guard before shifting outside to tackle during his junior and senior seasons.


The Irish A-to-Z
Josh Atkinson
Nicky Baratti

  1. domerboyirish - May 5, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    This kid is a beast. He is going to be starting before long, even with the star power at OL. It would be great if could red shirt him and keep building behind talent him.

    Of course, when he is the starter, and we talk about the guys behind him on the depth chart, they will be talking about the kids ‘behind Bars.’ That sounds more like Ohio State thing to me.

  2. jerseyshorendfan1 - May 5, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    To keep the pun thing going, I hope Alex bars the defense from reaching our QB.

    • 1historian - May 6, 2014 at 12:35 PM



      I’m begging you



  3. fnc111 - May 5, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    Let’s talk Notre Dame lacrosse eh.

    • papadec - May 6, 2014 at 1:41 AM

      Seeded #6 in the NCAA Tourney, after winning the ACC Tourney. They play Harvard this Saturday, 5/10, @ 2:30 pm (ET) on espnu. Brunch game for me out here in the NW. GO IRISH!!!!!!!!

  4. fnc111 - May 5, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    How many bars are there on eddy street?

    • ndfenian - May 5, 2014 at 6:49 PM

      Does anyone else find Eddy Street a little overrated? Yes, it is a fancier section of bars and condos which is cool, but I’ve always felt that South Bend lacks bars with great ND football mystique, and the Eddy Street places don’t have a lot of vintage stuff on the walls and seem awfully cookie-cutter. Around town, there just aren’t many places that have that vintage feel. I’m talking old banners and autographed memorabilia, framed pictures etc. The Linebacker has some of that.

      • mediocrebob - May 5, 2014 at 8:08 PM

        Not a fan of Linebacker?

      • ndfenian - May 5, 2014 at 8:34 PM

        I like Linebacker but can’t really think of other bars around town that are “must go to” for diehard fans.

    • dickasman - May 5, 2014 at 7:42 PM

      Sausage fest.

  5. shaunodame - May 5, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    I think Alex will be one of the better athletes out of all the lineman we will have going forward. Having that speed and acceleration off the line makes him an ideal fit for out Zone Blocking scheme we use. Wherever Alex ends up lining up, Guard, Tackle or even Center, I think he will have a lot of success within our system. Looking forward to seeing him in the future and I always love to see a Notre Dame legacy on the team!

  6. mtflsmitty - May 5, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    BIG THUMBS UP on the series thus far, Keith.

    Three down, 80 to go. If the quality and depth of each player write up is as good as the first three, not only will this be your most audacious effort, but your finest as well.


    • irishfaithful666 - May 6, 2014 at 1:18 AM

      Keith is the best in the business!

      • 1historian - May 6, 2014 at 12:43 PM

        I agree 1000 times over.

        The problem – who’s #2?

  7. 1historian - May 6, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    In virtually all of the articles I’ve seen here on the offensive line the versatility of the linemen is brought up – “he can play guard or tackle, left or right, or center.”

    Given that our starting QB will be either a righty or a lefty, and his backup will be a righty or a lefty – this is good news.

    I predict that Troy Niklas will be drafted by the Patriots, which means that his next official pass will come from Tom Brady.

    Not a bad start for a kid who didn’t graduate from college.

    • nudeman - May 6, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      Of all the ND guys, Troy made the biggest mistake leaving early. You could argue GAIII, but he was going to get buried on the depth chart next year and had nothing to lose.

      Niklas however was a blossoming star, but only had 2 years at the position. How many career passes did he catch? I bet less than 50.
      One more year where he caught 50 passes and improved other aspects of his game and he’d have been a sure fire 1st rounder.

      But someone gave him some really bad advice, then he went to the combine and performed miserably. He was called “Hercules”, but had lousy bench press numbers. And when he ran (either at his pro day or the Combine), he sucked there too.

      Seems immature to me.

      • nudeman - May 6, 2014 at 2:45 PM

        I stand (slightly) corrected.
        His bench numbers weren’t that bad; 4th among TEs
        But the rest of his performance (40, 3-cone, shuttle) were flat out bad.

      • onward2victory - May 6, 2014 at 7:16 PM

        I disagree. I think Tuitt made the biggest mistake as we continue to see him slide down draft boards.

        Given his position of TE, Niklas wouldn’t have been able to climb into the 1st half of the 1st round if he played out his senior year. At best he would have been a late 1st rounder, which still might have been worth coming back a year, but he isn’t going to fall too late.

        Tuitt however, thought he was a sure-fire 1st rounder. Now he might go late 2nd or 3rd. An extra season could have really helped him prove a better work ethic and motor. He has the athleticism and positional need to be a top 15 pick, but unfortunately won’t get drafted close to that.

      • ndfenian - May 7, 2014 at 1:22 AM

        Why not play another year, get that great degree and move yourself to first round? It looks like he will be a second rounder though which is still very good.

  8. irishwilliamsport - May 6, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    There’s a lot of depth on the offensive line and size to go with it, I wonder if the coaches are thinking about moving a guy or 2 over to the defensive line to help out with depth. I’m sure some of these guys played defense in high school.

    • shaunodame - May 6, 2014 at 11:09 PM

      Good point. I’ve seen it mentioned on this message board a few times before, and I have to agree that at least on the surface John Montelus moving to Nose Tackle/Defensive Tackle makes a lot of sense. Montelus is a VERY big boy, and could be an absolute space eating, double-team waiting to happen ala Louis Nix. Our Zone Scheme favors lighter quicker players. Not saying Montelus woulnt fit, but if anyone was going to move to the D-Line I think he makes a lot of sense.

  9. jem5b - May 6, 2014 at 7:43 PM

    The OLs are OLs because they lack something to be DLs.

    • shaunodame - May 6, 2014 at 11:11 PM

      That could not be further from the truth! In reality, it’s actually probably a lot closer to being the exact opposite. Offensive line is arguably a much more demanding (and thankless) position than being a D-Linemen

  10. ndfenian - May 7, 2014 at 1:32 AM

    Today I had to stomach our top Kansas City sports radio guy talking about ND football as “irrelevant’, even though with disgruntled callers he talked about that “irrelevant’ program for three segments. I can’t wait for guys like Bars to shut those haters up.

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