"Purdue is a really good school," said Oquendo. "They've got very prestigious athletics and academics. After you're done there—whether you got to the league or not—you're leaving there with an education."
Oquendo has yet to meet the new Purdue coaching staff, led by new head man Darrell Hazell. Still, he has heard good things.
"I know that he's a pretty good coach coming from a MAC school with pretty high standards of winning," Oquendo said.
A talented two-way player, Oquendo remains unsure whether Purdue wants his services at center or defensive tackle. While he has no preference, he hopes to discuss that with the Boilermakers' new coaching staff. More importantly, he hopes to form bonds.
"I'm just hoping to build a good relationship," Oquendo said. "We can pretty much talk about where they need me later—whether it's defensive tackle or center."
Oquendo also holds scholarship offers from Eastern Michigan, Illinois State and Wyoming. He has received strong interest from Ball State, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, Vanderbilt and others, too.
Purdue remains Oquendo's only Big Ten offer, and happens to be the first he visited for a game—seeing the Boilermakers' 2012 season-opening win over Eastern Kentucky. The environment in West Lafayette is what stood out the most.
"The campus is beautiful," he said. "I went to the game down there. The games are so alive. I think they have one of the best student sections around."
As a junior with Mount Carmel, Oquendo was an important piece of a championship-winning team. The exposure helped his recruitment, but also provided important lessons.
"It just helps me to keep on fighting more," he said. "Just never give up."