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Bielema move surprises Badgers recruit Fumagalli

Updated: January 6, 2013 10:03AM

Taking an unofficial visit on Sept. 1 to Wisconsin, Waubonsie Valley tight end Troy Fumagalli came away very impressed.

Eleven days after witnessing the Badgers open their 2012 season with a 26-21 victory over Northern Iowa, Fumagalli officially accepted the scholarship offer extended to him by Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema.

A little more than three months after that unofficial visit, Fumagalli’s post-Waubonsie Valley future could be up in the air in light of Tuesday’s news that Bielema is leaving Wisconsin for the Southeastern Conference, becoming the new head coach at Arkansas.

“It was a huge surprise to me that Bielema left. Talking with him on the phone earlier in the season he sounded as if Wisconsin was gonna be his home for a long time,” Fumagalli wrote in a text message late Tuesday afternoon.

Fumagalli is taking a wait-and-see approach with his recruitment, admitting his surprise about Bielema leaving for Arkansas after seven successful seasons at Wisconsin.

Bielema’s tenure included 68 victories, three 11-win seasons and the Big Ten title in each of the last three years, culminating in three straight Rose Bowl berths,

“I’m still talking with some of the coaches to get a better understanding on the situation. I’m still planning on taking my official visit this weekend,” he wrote.

The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Fumagalli, an All-Upstate Eight Valley selection for a Waubonsie Valley team that finished 10-2 in 2012 while reaching the state quarterfinals, caught 26 receptions for 441 yards and five touchdowns.

Prior to committing to the Badgers in September, Warriors’ coach Paul Murphy indicated both Illinois and Minnesota were showing interest in Fumagalli.

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