Notre Dame releases Alex Bullard

Notre Dame sophomore offensive lineman Alex Bullard was released from his scholarship so he could attend a school closer to his family in Franklin, Tenn., the school announced Friday.

A number of websites are reporting that Bullard will transfer to Tennessee.

"Due to the declining health and eventual passing of [his father] Louis Bullard, the last 12 months have been very challenging for Alex and his family," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Friday in a university release. "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 fully understand and support his desires to attend a school closer to his mother and sister."

Notre Dame doesn't have a great deal of depth along the interior line and it was expected that Bullard, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound guard, would see his first action in the 2011 season.

Trevor Robinson will be back next fall for his senior year, but it's not yet known if Andrew Nuss will return for a fifth year. Incoming recruit Conor Hanratty is the only one in his class with much experience inside.

Wes Morgan covers Notre Dame football for ESPNChicago.com.