KNOXVILLE - Alex Bullard's wait didn't reach the summer.
The NCAA, according to Tennessee associate athletic director for communications Jimmy Stanton, ruled quickly on the offensive lineman's bid for eligibility next season through a hardship waiver, clearing Bullard to play this season with the Volunteers instead of having to sit out a season after he transferred to UT from Notre Dame in January.
The 6-foot-2, 309-pound Bullard, a former four-star recruit out of Brentwood Academy, redshirted a year and played in just three games with the Irish before the death of his father forced a move closer to home.
Fortunately for the Vols, Bullard chose to walk on in Knoxville and became one of the biggest surprises of spring practice with his ability. He was working on making a switch to center when he moved out to first-team right tackle when Ja'Wuan James' spring was cut short due to mononucleosis.
“Alex was a surprise just because he landed on our program and we didn’t know much about him,” Vols coach Derek Dooley said after UT's spring game. “He really just played great. He’s going to really help us.”
Now he'll get to help the Vols as soon as next season.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...