Tennessee offensive lineman Blake Bars [6'5", 275 lbs, 4 Star] is on his way up to Ann Arbor for his visit that will take place tomorrow [Saturday the 18th]. Bars' name hasn't been thrown around as much as some of the other prospects Michigan is after, but that doesn't mean he's wanted any less. Blake told me about his recruitment and what lead to a slow start in his process. Here's a look at his film then the answers.
TOM: The fans aren't as familiar with you as they are for some of the other prospects. It seems like your name has shot to the top very quickly though, is there any reason for that?
BLAKE: Yeah, we didn't get any of our game film until late in February. Our coach just didn't give them to us until after the season in fear that we would focus too much on recruiting and not the program. We got it in late February and put together a highlight film, sent them out the schools and got really positive feedback. That's why it took so long.
TOM: That makes sense. Since you got somewhat of a late start, at least compared to the rest of the crop, where are you at in the process? Do you have a top group yet?
BLAKE: My top schools are probably Penn State, Florida, Vanderbilt, LSU, and Michigan. There are some other schools I would maybe want to consider, but that's my top group right now. We're focusing on visiting the top schools right now, and we really wanted to visit Michigan. We're headed down there right now.
TOM: Ok, and to talk more specifically about Michigan how familiar are you with the program?
BLAKE: We lived in Trenton [Michigan] for around 12 years. I went to a Lloyd Carr camp in Wyandotte once, but I can't really tell you much more than that, I was pretty young. We did go up to Michigan last year and took a brief visit. We have relatives in Ann Arbor and we wanted to look around the stadium. We're excited to go back up and meet the coaches and go on a tour.
TOM: Does Michigan have any advantage with all this since you have family there and you've lived there before?
BLAKE: I think my Aunt who lives in Ann Arbor is a pretty good recruiter. She always says that if I come to Michigan she'll have special things for me. She'll bake me cookies and cook for me. I like the fact that my family is there, and my mom's uncle actually played for Michigan, but I'm not sure how much it will factor in.
TOM: What coach from Michigan are you mainly in contact with?
BLAKE: Coach Smith is recruiting our area. He came out to watch me practice and he said he was pretty impressed. The offer came after that. He's a great guy and I'm excited to meet him. When I talked to him on the phone we got to talk to Coach Hoke which was pretty cool.
TOM: With this visit what are you looking to get out of it? Are there any specific questions you want answered?
BLAKE: Right now I'm just keeping an open mind about each school. When we see it tomorrow I don't know that I have a specific questions other than just hearing what the coaches have to say. I want to find out about the academic side of everything. I think I'm looking for a school that's well balanced, good academics and good athletics as well.
TOM: You said you want to visit your top schools, so how do you think this whole process is going to play out for you?
BLAKE: I think I'm looking to get everything done sooner than later. I want to make a decision before our season starts. We have a really good team this year and we have a good shot at states. Getting that decision out of the way will help that. We have the top five right now and we'll try to get it down from there.
an advantage with all his family living right in AA. OT but Tom do you think Jordan Diamond could commit this weekend? or will he most likely silently commit if anything so his school can still get scouts to come see them?
For someone who got a late start, he has some very impressive offers. I look forward to seeing what he has to say after he visits. It sounds like the Michigan connection could help us, but we'll wait and see.
His situation seems a lot like Eric Olson, Allen Gant, and several other players that we have been involved with. Rivals and Scout don't know him, but the coaches sure do. This guy has offers from LSU, Florida, and Penn State in addition to Michigan. Seems like he managed to fly under the radar until now, but this may not be the last we hear about him, whether he plays for us or for another program.
I google mapped the distance from his home to all his top schools, and Ann Arbor is the closest (outside of Vandy, obviously). Not a huge difference between LSU and UF, but probably an hour drive closer than each, and much closer than PSU. I doubt that will affect it much, but unless he picks Vandy, distance won't be a factor, which is good for us when recruiting a kid from SEC country.
Also, if he really is serious about academics, he can rule out LSU. The other schools are good or better academically.
Well that throws an unfortunate wrench into things.
EDIT: I looked him up, he's a RS soph, but he was the lowest rated player in PSU's class that year and didn't have a Michigan offer. He picked PSU likely because they were by far his best offer. Blake's recruitment will be a lot different.
from what he told me he had MAC offers and then PSU showed up on his doorstep in late January and offerred and he accepted. Though it is wrong that he is a RS Soph since he is the same age as me and graduated last year
Oh, yes you're right, I was looking at the wrong class. He was in the 2010 recruiting class and is a RS frosh.
Your story makes sense since he was the last guy to commit in PSU's class that year. It's possible that none of the guys they were in on at the end picked PSU, so they grapped a guy they liked to fill the empty spot. If PSU liked him, I'm sure he's no schmuck, but nobody else liked him, so, ya know.
Good job as always, Tom. Do you get the feeling that this is going to be one of the best offensive line classes in recent memory? Also, I haven't read much on Thurston out of Colorado. Has that shipped sailed? Or do you think Michigan still has the edge?
Like I said before I'm friends with his family and they're a great group of people. Hard to believe I was bigger than him before he left and now hes got 2 inches and 100 pounds on me. Hoping that this visit goes well....he has family and friends in AA.
How many cookies do you think he will have to eat before it equals the amount of money that TP got? I was just curious about the exchange rate of cookies. Is the market rate for homemade cookies more than store bought?
Greetings from Bolivia.
"It's special how the real true people hang together. And if you don't support the program you're not a true Michigan guy. It's that simple." - Gary Moeller
Stalling the recruiting process is against everything a HS coach should be trying to do for a player. For an elite prospect, it's OK to not give game films until later. But it is a HS coach's responsibility to help any kid on his team who has a chance to get to the next level. It will obviously work out OK for Blake Bars, but a lower-level prospect in that situation is at the risk of losing an opportunity for a scholarship, all because the coach thinks recruiting detracts from the team.
His head coach needs a serious wake-up call. If he is too lazy or impatient to do his job, I'm sure there is a stack of resumes in the admin offices from people who aren't.
So . . . putting out junior year highlights in February of a kid's junior year is some sort of crime? I'm sorry, Tater, but you're off base here.
Kids who are as good as Blake Bars aren't hurt by it because their film speaks for itself, right? So the elite prospects are still in good shape. Check.
Kids who AREN'T as good as Blake Bars probably don't have super-awesome sophomore highlights to send out. If they had super-awesome sophomore highlight films to send out, they would be big-time prospects. So they have to wait until after their junior year (at the earliest) to get anything worthwhile on tape.
Good teams' seasons don't end until mid- to late November or, in some states, early December.
So a coach is supposed to bust his ass over the Thanksgiving and Christmas season to make a highlight tape for a kid just so he can send out his clips a month earlier? Do you have any idea how long it takes to make a highlight tape for an entire season? It's a very tedious process. You have to watch every play of every game (unless the kid only plays one way and/or missed time due to a blowout, injury, etc.). And not only that, but you ought to watch each play several times to make sure that the clip doesn't show any bad tendencies.
During football season I work 80-85 hours a week, and I'm not even the head coach. He puts in way more time than me making practice schedules, talking with parents and administrators, etc. I'm guessing he puts in about 100 hours a week, and that might even be a conservative estimate.
So after two-a-day practices all August and then 100-hour weeks from September through November, his head coach ought to break his neck getting a highlight tape made, despite the fact that he's probably emotionally exhausted and the holidays are fast approaching?
Yeah, I'm not buying it. I don't think you know what you're talking about. And you're certainly not qualified to suggest that he's lazy, bad at his job, or in need of being replaced. Neither one of us knows this particular coach's job situation, family situation, etc. He might have a wife, four young children, and a mother on her death bed. But never mind. GET ME MY DAMN HIGHLIGHT FILM NOW!!!!!!!111