- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
Tight end Scott Orndorff (Pittsburgh/Seton-LaSalle) was the first commit in Wisconsin's 2013 class.
But nearly four months after committing, without any hint or clue, he watched as Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, offensive line coach Bob Bostad and tight ends coach Joe Rudolph announced their departures for Pitt, where Chryst is the new head coach. It was a dead period in recruiting, and it would be another month until Orndorff would be able to talk to the coaches he had committed to.
"It was somewhat of a surprise," Orndorff said. "But I knew Coach Chryst wanted to be a head coach and he found his opportunity at Pitt so he's following his dream and advancing his career. You can't blame him."
But the upheaval struck a nerve with Orndorff, and he decided that he would reopen his recruiting process but remain committed to the Badgers.
"I'm just making sure Wisconsin is still the right place for me," Orndorff said.
Currently the 6-foot-5, 240-pound tight end has offers from Michigan, Boston College and Virginia (in addition to Wisconsin). However, he has visits planned to Pitt, Penn State and Virginia over the next two weeks.
He's also planning trips to Michigan, Boston College and Michigan State during the spring before he makes his final decision.
Orndorff said several factors would help him decide whether Wisconsin is still the right choice or if there's a better fit for him.
"I'm looking at how they use the tight end," Orndorff said. "The academics are obviously important, the team's track record and how their program has been in the past."
Pitt boasts three of the coaches that recruited him the hardest at Wisconsin, as well as being in his hometown. Orndorff said he likes Penn State because of coach Bill O’Brien and his past with the New England Patriots and how he brings the NFL's usage of a tight end into the college game.
He also pointed out Michigan as a school with which he has been impressed.
"The tradition that they have there is excellent," Orndorff said. "Hopefully they plan on using the tight end more in the future. Even being able to say that Michigan is recruiting you is a really big deal."
Orndorff hasn't set a specific deadline of when he will make a final decision and said he intends to take all his visits before doing so.