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March 25, 2013

Irish make impression on Bars

Alex Bars didn't hear much from his father last weekend, at least in terms of recruiting pitches.

As the four-star offensive tackle watched Notre Dame's spring practice on Saturday morning and met with head coach Brian Kelly, offensive coordinator Chuck Martin and offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, Bars' father, former Notre Dame football player Joe Bars, kept his opinions quiet.

"He just let me see the school without bias," Bars said. "He didn't really say anything about him being there before or how he went there. He wanted me to see the school for myself."

Joe Bars played linebacker for the Irish under Gerry Faust from 1981-84. In addition to the Rivals100 offensive tackle from Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tenn., the Bars family includes a senior defensive end at Penn State (Brad) and a sophomore offensive lineman at Michigan (Blake).

With all that information at hand, the latest Bars hopes to make a decision sooner rather than later. He hopes to make a couple more spring visits, including a practice stop at Michigan, then review his options.

Notre Dame figures to be one of those after the Junior Day experience. In addition to the standard campus tour, meetings with coaches and watching practice, Bars spent Friday night watching NCAA tournament basketball with the offensive line. He didn't ask many questions about why that group ended up at Notre Dame but wanted to see how the line interacted with one another.

"I found that they were a really tight-knit group," Bars said.

Bars took notes on Hiestand too, watching how the offensive line coach taught the position off the field and then how he changed when practice began.

"Off the field, he's a great guy, talking to all the players, joking around with the players," Bars said. "Then at practice time, he got down to it. It was all business for him. I really liked that. I watched every drill and stood right next to coach Hiestand."

Before heading home on Sunday, Bars met with Kelly, Martin and Hiestand to get an understanding of where he stood on the Irish recruiting board. Notre Dame already has one offensive line commitment in Jimmy Byrne and it doesn't appear there's room for many more.

Bars said the staff told him Notre Dame is recruiting seven offensive linemen for just four spots. Other linemen in that group include Braden Smith, who visited last week, and K.C. McDermott, who's headed to South Bend for a visit in the next couple days. Like Bars, both are Rivals100 prospects.

"They were up front with me," Bars said. "They let me know that if I wanted to play there that I might have to commit early because there are other guys that want to go there also.

"They just kind of let me know how they really liked me, how they want me to come here."


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