STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Veteran defensive end Brad Bars is seeking a sixth year of eligibility, and he said Thursday afternoon that Penn State's compliance office is already working on putting together a case.
"I would absolutely love to get a sixth year," said Bars, who missed the entire 2013 season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. "I missed over 28 games at Penn State because of injury, so I've missed plenty of games to get that sixth year."
Bars played in eight games as a redshirt sophomore and made just two tackles. But he was expected to see an increased role in 2013 as a backup, until he suffered the injury during workouts in mid-July.
He'll likely be the primary backup at defensive end this season and, with the impending graduation of senior C.J. Olaniyan, could challenge for the starting job next season -- if the NCAA grants his request.
"It's such a long process," Bars said. "You have to have the medical documentation from the doctors, and we had previous doctors here and previous trainers. So, a lot of that stuff takes time to get. ... It's kind of been progressing along, but I'd say there's still a lot of work to be done to get that."
Bars is most well-known for a key play during his redshirt freshman season, when he blocked an Illinois punt in the fourth quarter in the Nittany Lions' 10-7 win. Illinois led 7-0 prior to the play.
The Nashville, Tenn., native said the sixth year of eligibility has rested in the back of his mind since last summer. But he's trying not to focus on that this spring.
"Honestly, I'm just working my butt off for this year," Bars said. "If I take care of my business and stay healthy, this is going to be a great year for our team and for myself. So I'm not thinking about my sixth year right now.
"I'm focusing on 2014 because that's a definite, and I don't know if my sixth year's for sure or not."