Penn State’s defensive depth took a hit with redshirt junior defensive end Brad Bars rupturing his Achilles’ tendon this week. He will miss the entire season.
Bars shared one of the top backup spots and was expected to see significant minutes this fall behind Deion Barnes and either C.J. Olaniyan or Anthony Zettel. Now, the 6-foo3, 251-pound Bars will have surgery in the next few days with recovery expected at four to six months.
Now, it will be up to one or more of the youngest defensive end to contribute sooner than expected. The replacements includes redshirt freshman Evan Schwan and true freshmen Garrett Sickels and Curtis Cothran.
None of those three have ever played a snap of college football. But since assistant coach Larry Johnson likes to rotate four or more defensive ends during games, the newcomers certainly will be tested.
Bars, who will have one season eligibility remaining, is one of the team’s top academic performers with a 3.77 grade point average in finance.