- Josh Moyer, ESPN Staff Writer
Four-star linebacker Garret Dooley (Rochester, Ill./Rochester) remains committed to Wisconsin, but the senior said he's considering a visit to Penn State.
Since Bret Bielema left for Arkansas, Dooley has been inundated with calls from coaches and other opportunities. He might consider a trip to see the Razorbacks but, at this point, the only place he's seriously thinking about visiting is Happy Valley, Pa.
"Well, I know they've got great academics," he said of Penn State. "I know the atmosphere is unbelievable, and the people there are really nice people. I've spoken to people who've been there before, and the football atmosphere's amazing, the community's amazing and Coach [Ron] Vanderlinden -- to be able to have what happened and do what they did this year, it's unbelievable.
"I give them props to push through that whole thing."
Understandably, Dooley said he's not too excited about the changes happening at Wisconsin. However, he trusts athletic director Barry Alvarez, feels comfortable on campus and likes that his parents would have to drive just 3.5 hours to see his games there.
Dooley said he isn't sure what might push him to decommit -- maybe nothing will -- but he wanted to speak with new Badgers coach Gary Andersen and maybe see Penn State before signing a letter of intent.
"I just want everyone to know that I am still committed to Wisconsin," Dooley said, "but I talk to my high school coach a lot about this, and he said things happen for a reason. You don't want to close anything that could be a huge opportunity that you need later on. So you need to make sure of the other options -- but my heart's still in Wisconsin."
Vanderlinden talked with Dooley last spring, but the two fell out of contact once Dooley committed to Wisconsin. But, when Bielema left for Arkansas, Vanderlinden reached out to the linebacker and offered him a scholarship.
"I mean, Penn State, it's Linebacker University," Dooley said. "You have to have some interest in that."
He said his date with the Nittany Lions is not yet set because, if he decides to visit, he'd like to make the trip with his entire family -- his parents and two sisters. With an 11-hour drive to look forward to, he said there's a lot of schedules to work around first.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound prospect plans to talk over a potential trip with his family during the holidays and then decide whether to visit. He has never before been to Penn State.
16dMitch Sherman and Brian Bennett