Personal connections, ties and affinities often times play a major role in college football recruiting but that's not always the case.
Look no further than the recruiting process of four-star offensive tackle Alex Bars to see that sometimes a recruit just wants to pave his own path and make his own legacy.
According to Dave Hooker of ESPN.com, Bars has family ties to both Penn State and Michigan, but those may not play a huge factor in his ultimate decision:
The younger Bars now has over 20 scholarship offers. Michigan and Penn State have strong ties to Bars, as he has older brothers that play at each school. Bars spent Thanksgiving with the Wolverines' coaching staff.
However, Bars has maintained that he's open to all schools. He has said he's not determined to follow his brothers nor is he determined to play football at a northern school like them.
Bars is an extremely talented recruit from Nashville, Tenn., and he has a plethora of big-time offers. His offer list (247Sports) features the likes of Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt amongst others.
That goes to show you just how talented of a player he projects to be though. Bars checks in at 6'6" and 287 pounds, and he can play either offensive tackle or defensive end, though he is ranked as an offensive tackle according to 247Sports.
The simple fact of the matter here is that Bars has the potential to be an elite college football player. He has a very impressive offer list, and he can basically pick and choose where he wants to end up. He was rather clear that following in the footsteps of his brothers is not a priority though, so it doesn't appear that Michigan or Penn State will get a leg up over the competition.
Also consider the fact that Michigan has recruited two very strong offensive-line classes in a row now, so depth chart room isn't readily available, and Penn State is hindered by sanctions.
It's not as if either program can present him with an ideal situation.
This doesn't mean that Penn State or Michigan won't be viable options in his recruitment—it just means that they don't appear to have an edge.
When push comes to shove could that change? Of course.
If you need to know anything about college football recruiting it's that nothing is certain and nothing is final until that fax is sent in.
That said, for now, it seems as if the Wolverines and Nittany Lions are on an even playing field with everyone else in regards to their chances of landing the talented offensive tackle.