Alex Bullard, 6-4, 290 pound offensive guard from Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy is one of the top prospects in the entire southeast. The excitement on his recruiting was short lived as Bullard chose to end things early and make his decision this summer to commit to Notre Dame. He recently said, "Notre Dame is a great school and it is one of those things that I am lucky to be in a situation to play elite football and also get a great education." He went on to say of the program and the 2009 recruiting class, "Coach Weis is a great coach and has a great program, so I feel real good we are going to have a good class."
For Bullard and his teammates the season has been filled with ups and downs. Typically the Eagles from Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy roll into the playoffs with one loss or sometimes none, but the 2008 season has been different. With an early season upset against Brentwood-Ravenwood (Tenn.), a loss to Alabama powerhouse Prattville (Ala.) and a region loss to Nashville-Montgomery Bell Academy the Eagles are looking to turn things around. Bullard explained, "6-3 is our record, but that is unexpected. We lost some games we should not have lost. If we play to our potential we will hopefully be able to compete at the end of the year."
The hope for Bullard is not to be able to attend anymore Irish home games this season. It's not because he has lost interest in the program, but rather he wants to finish his season on the right note. He said, "I'm trying to get up there and see them play Syracuse, but I don't know if that will work out because that is the state championship weekend so we will see."
For Bullard the 2008 season is shaping up into a productive year for the Irish. He said of the team, "I'm excited about the program and where it's headed." He went on to say of some of the players, "Jimmy (Clausen) seems to be playing pretty good with Michael Floyd and Golden (Tate). I'm really excited to get up there and be a part of it."
After a record season in 2007 for sacks allowed all eyes and critics were on the Notre Dame offensive line. Bullard remarked on their improvement, "I think they have improved tremendously. They are firing off the ball and protecting. You really don't see Jimmy (Clausen) getting hit."
Before his commitment to Notre Dame Bullard was receiving interest from almost every program in the country and had his list narrowed down to three, Tennessee, Notre Dame, and Michigan. He said of schools still pursuing him, "Everyone has pretty much died down."
The Eagles of Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy is a private school in the Middle Tennessee area loaded with talent like Bullard. In addition to Bullard his teammates in the class of 2009 and 2010 are beginning to garner their own interest including 6-4, 240 pound tight end Thad McHaney. The Irish are one of the schools showing an interest in McHaney and Bullard commented, "They are still recruiting Thad and looking at him to see how he plays out."
The state of Tennessee is gaining more and more attention from the Irish staff to name a few non-traditional recruiters. A few weeks ago the Nashville area including Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy received a visit from Notre Dame offensive coordinator Michael Haywood. Bullard said of Haywood's visit, "I know he came down to watch the MBA game, but I didn't get a chance to talk to him because he's not allowed to talk to me."
In the past few seasons the state of Tennessee has begun to become an increasing state for the Irish to recruit. With the additions of sophomores Golden Tate and Harrison Smith to the lineup Bullard will be the third top Tennessean to leave the state and go to South Bend. When asked why he thinks players would leave the state to go to Northern Indiana, he said, "It's just that Notre Dame is an opportunity of a lifetime."