Purdue pushing for Oquendo

Purdue has led a steady recruitment of three-star lineman Nate Oquendo, a Mount Carmel (Ill.) standout. Boiler Sports Report offers the latest in his recruitment.

It's hard for Mount Carmel (Ill.) lineman Nathan Oquendo to avoid the Purdue recruiting pitch. His friend is current Boilermaker defensive tackle Bruce Gaston.

"He gives me a "Boiler up!" every time I see him," said Oquendo of Gaston, also a Chicago native.

Several years ago, Gaston picked Purdue because he felt right at home with the program. Now, it's Oquendo's turn to experience the recruiting process, and the Boilermakers are interested in landing his services.

Oquendo, a three-star lineman, has maintained frequent contact with the Purdue coaching staff, and holds the program in high regard.

"They've shown a lot of interest so far," said Oquendo of the Boilermakers. "I got a feel for their players, and they speak highly of the coaches."

While Oquendo does not yet have a formal top-three grouping, he admitted the Boilermakers would be in that mix. His recruitment to the Purdue program has been led by assistant coach Jafar Williams.

"He's a really cool guy, overall," Oquendo said of Williams. "I'd say he's really cool, laidback, but he's also really serious."

In Oquendo's discussions with Williams, he has heard great praise about new head coach Darrell Hazell.

"He's a really cool guy and I have to talk to him and get to know him," Oquendo said. "He's one hell of a coach."

Through Gaston and the Purdue coaches, Oquendo has gotten a feel for what life is like as a Boilermaker.

"I like their players," he said. "They're really family oriented. Everyone is cool with everyone there, it seems."

Oquendo holds offers from Purdue, Eastern Michigan, Illinois State and Wyoming, with interest coming from Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Northern Illinois and others.

This summer, Oquendo intends to make several stops on a college tour, but those travels may exclude West Lafayette.

"I think they have a lot of offer already," he said.

While Oquendo has yet to compile a list of favorites, he's confident in what's going to make the difference in picking the perfect school.

"I want a stable coaching staff," he said, "and I want to go to a team that wins; if not, I want to be a part of a team that's going to win in the future."

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats, and currently covers the Purdue Boilermakers. A Chicago native, he resides in West Lafayette.
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