BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy offensive lineman Alex Bullard is a college football fan. He grew up cheering for his home-state program of Tennessee. He also grew up rooting for the historic national power Notre Dame. So it was only right that on Friday morning Tennessee and Notre Dame were among his five finalists-along with Alabama, Michigan and Oklahoma-in the battle for his services in college.
Bullard, who has been considered by many to be a Tennessee lean during the process, recently took a weekend visit to Michigan and Notre Dame. Following the visit, Bullard decided he was ready to announce. On Friday morning he made things official.
"I have decided to commit to being a student athlete at the University of Notre Dame", Bullard said at an announcement ceremony at his high school. "I am most excited because I can put this behind me and the focus can now be on the Brentwood Academy football team."
Bullard found that Notre Dame gave him the best opportunity for success on and off the field.
"I feel like I can fulfill my maximum potential at the University of Notre Dame," he said. "I am most excited because I can put this behind me and the focus can now be on the Brentwood Academy football team and our goal to win a state championship in the 2008 season. It is a big burden off my shoulders."
Though Bullard found a home at Notre Dame, his relationship with other coaches and programs made the final call very tough, particularly in the case of his childhood favorite, Tennessee.
"It was a tough decision," he said. "I guess the hardest part of the process is that you build relationships with a lot of people and you have to tell people no. Especially with Tennessee, I had a great relationship with Coach Fulmer and Coach Clawson and it was tough telling them no but in the end of the day, I had to do what was best for me."
Bullard's decision came on the heels of a great unofficial visit to South Bend. On that visit, it became clear to the versatile lineman what he should do.
"I knew ND was where I wanted to go when I left my visit this past weekend," he said. "But I wanted to come home and talk to my family about it, pray about it, and make sure I was making the right decision."
With the weight off of his shoulders, Bullard's focus now will shift towards his high school team and perhaps some recruiting of his own.
"I will talk to some other prospects that are interested in ND and tell them my thoughts on the school and try to help ND get the No. 1 recruiting class this year."
Bullard is currently rated as the No. 11 offensive guard in the country.