Starting with A.J. Fenton in the 2009 recruiting class and extending all the way to current committed four-star lineman J.J. Denman, Rudolph has recruited one player considered in the top echelon of talent in Pennsylvania to Wisconsin in each of the past four seasons.
However, none of those Keystone State players directly played under his watch, so none of them can relate like Seton LaSalle (PA) junior tight end Scott Orndoff can on how tough it was seeing Rudolph head to Pittsburgh to coach under former UW offensive coordinator Paul Chryst.
"I called him once every week," Orndoff told Badger Nation. "He was always real up front and honest with me."
That communication has tapered off. Since Rudolph took his new job in Orndoff's home town, the 6-5, 240-pound tight end admitted he hasn't been in contact with anyone from Pittsburgh or Wisconsin since mid-December. With or without the move, Orndoff's outlook hasn't changed.
"I'm always committed to Wisconsin but even without this happening, I've always kept my options open," said Orndoff, who is expecting UW coach Bret Bielema at his school today. "I am not shutting any school down because you never know what could happen with any of this. I just want to make sure I don't get stuck in a bad situation."
When Orndoff committed to Wisconsin last August, it not only marked the Badgers first verbal commitment for 2013 but allowed UW to forego taking a tight end in the 2012 recruiting class that was tight on scholarship numbers.
It also was a rare start, as Wisconsin hasn't had that early of a commit to a recruiting class since Menasha offensive lineman Andy Kemp pledged to the 2005 recruiting class in September 2003.
"I first went to their camp and my dad and I wasn't expecting anything out of it," Orndoff said. "I was just going to get the experience, find out what it was like and use what I learned that next year. When they offered me a scholarship, everything changed. I planned another visit out there with my whole family in the summer so my mom could see it. We figured with the tight end history they had there and all the coaches they had there for me, it was going to be the best place I was able to get. It just seemed like the right thing."
So far, it appears Wisconsin made the right choice in locking up Orndoff early. Leading his team to a 9-0 regular season, a conference championship and to the semifinals of the Western Pennsylvania playoffs, Orndoff was an AA all-state selection and, along with UW senior defensive tackle Arthur Goldberg, made the Pittsburgh's Post Gazette's South's Fab 22.
"I didn't put up any staggering numbers this year, but I pride myself on how I block for people," said Orndoff, who finished the season with 17 catches for 312 yards and four touchdowns. "If I am on the field and I am not getting the ball, you might as well help out the guy who is. I want them to block for me when I have the ball, so I've been trying to get everybody in the weight room and start working hard for next season. If you don't work hard, you aren't going to find the success that you want."
Since committing to Wisconsin and grabbing accolades, Orndoff admitted the buzz from college coaches around him has increased, but ‘it didn't happen as much as people told me it would.' Orndoff hasn't received any more scholarship offers, and says he's currently content with his college choice, especially after seeing the success his future team had this past season.
"They lost so many guys from last year that I don't think people expected to them to play as well as they did," said Orndoff. "It was pretty cool to watch a team, seeing them on TV and knowing that I am going to be playing for them in a couple years."