Both Scott Wells and Bubba Miller attended Brentwood Academy before becoming two of the finest offensive linemen Tennessee has ever signed. You're talking about two players that each started four years for the Vols before going on to highly successful NFL careers.
As usual the Eagles are loaded with talent and in search of another state title. The brightest of the bunch is offensive tackle Alex Bullard, a four-year starter who is an outstanding athlete with NFL genes to match.
"My dad (Louis Bullard) played in the NFL for eight years." Alex informed. "He played at Jackson State University. He was a freshman when Walter Payton was a senior. He played for the Seahawks and the Browns. He was a left tackle. He's helped guide me through the recruiting process but he's also stepped back and let me be a man about it, speaking for myself and things like that. He'll give me advice when I need it.
Papa Bullard's faith is well rewarded as Baby Bull knows his way around an interview. He may be more amiable and articulate than he is agile and athletic and the 6-foot-4, 270-pound lineman is quick enough to to run a 4.89 in the 40 and and has enough explosion to lift himself 27 inches in the vertical leap. He's competed in track and wrestling but is focusing on football and the weight room as he transitions to his senior year.
"The fastest I've ever ran the 40 was a 4.89 but that's unofficial," said. "I just put it at a 4.9. I did wrestling and track but this year I'm just focused on getting my strength up. I have a lot of room for improvement there so that's one thing I'm focusing on this off season. I need to make progress in the weight room and staying low with my pad level and stuff like that. Definitely my number one goal right now is getting stronger.
Alex Bullard will also get bigger and there's a good chance he'll get taller. His mother was an accomplished high school basketball player, and his father was a late bloomer.
I was about 6-2, 250 pounds as a freshman," he said. "My dad is 6-7 and he did most of his growing between his junior and senior year. So he's expecting me to grow about another inch or two this summer and through the course of my senior year. So that's how I see myself growing."
With so much upside, no apparent downside and the versatility to played anywhere on the offensive line, Bullard is a young man in demand. He reports offers from 13 schools including Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, North Carolina State, Connecticut and Tennessee.
"Tennessee offered me back in February," he said. Coach (Dave) Clawson, the new offensive coordinator, is recruiting me. He's really a good guy and we have built a solid relationship."
A math wiz, who sees order in numbers, gives Bullard an appreciation of his current situation that enables him to enjoy the recruiting process despite the occasional annoyances
"I'm enjoying it," he said. "In some ways you have to enjoy it really. Only like one percent of high school athletes go through it. You only get to go through it once in a life so I'm trying to enjoy it. As of right now there's a lot of teams interested in me and I'm interested in them.
"Later on in the spring I'm going to cut it down to the top three or four schools, evaluate those a little more closely and then probably come out with a decision,,, maybe at the end of the football season, or at the beginning."
What are the odds Tennessee makes that big cut?
"I'll say definitely," Bullard answered. "They[‘re a school I'm really interested in right now and really like. I was always a UT fan and a Notre Dame fan growing up. I know Bubba Miller, he's from my school of course and Scott Wells also attended my school. Of course David Holbert is up there; he's a B.A. guy."
A.B. is a B.A. guy UT wants ASAP.
Editor's Note: See an in-depth feature story on Alex Bullard in the next issue of Rocky Top News magazine.