Alex Bullard, the 6-foot-3, 295-pound sophomore guard from Franklin, Tenn., has decided to transfer from Notre Dame to the University of Tennessee, where he can be closer to his mother and family in the aftermath of his father's passing on April 18, 2010.
Bullard played sparingly in three games in 2010.
"Due to the declining health and eventual passing of Louis Bullard, the last 12 months have been very challenging for Alex and his family," said Brian Kelly in a statement released by the University Friday.
"Throughout this very trying time, the Bullards have continued to exude the utmost class and dignity, and I wish Alex and his family all the best in the future and will keep them in my thoughts.
"Alex is a great young man that I enjoyed working with this year, and (I) fully understand and support his desires to attend a school close to his mother and sister."
Bullard publicly revealed his plans via Facebook.
"I would like to thank everyone that I met in the Notre Dame community, y'all gave me a wonderful two years and I will miss you very much. Hopefully we will reunite one day but until then…I'm going home to Rocky Top to be a Vol :)"
Bullard was selected to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Super Southern 100 following a brilliant career at Brentwood Academy. The Knoxville News Sentinel also rated him the second best player in the state of Tennessee following his senior season. He helped lead his high school to the Division II Class AAA state championship game in 2008 after winning the state title in 2007.
Bullard made his collegiate debut on special teams against Michigan State this season. He also saw action against Boston College and Western Michigan.
Bullard joins Chris Stewart among Irish guards leaving the program. Guards with remaining eligibility include Trevor Robinson (1), Chris Watt (3), Mike Golic Jr. (2), and Andrew Nuss (1), should Nuss decide to seek and be granted a fifth year of eligibility.
Incoming offensive guard candidates include Conor Hanratty, the son of former quarterback great Terry Hanratty.
Bullard's father, Louis, was a standout offensive lineman at Jackson State and played three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.