Gabe Foster has been a major draw for regional FCS schools in recent weeks. Purdue noticed and, on Thursday, it opted to give the Newton running back and defensive back an opportunity to play Big Ten Conference football.

The Boilermakers are the fifth school to offer the two-way standout, the first from the FBS level and the first from a power five conference. Foster announced the news through his personal Twitter account.

With the Big Ten invitation, Foster (6-3, 180) became the 19th local player to own at least one college football opportunity at the highest level of competition.

Purdue has endured back-to-back difficult seasons, but it has flashed potential under Darrell Hazell in his two seasons at the helm.

The team went 3-9 last year with one Big Ten win against Illinois. It was an improvement in all phases from a 1-11 campaign in 2013.

The Boilermakers played respectably against all four top 25 teams it faced in 2014, losing by an average of 17.25 points. Furthermore, the team's truly national recruiting classes have held steady in the middle pack of FBS teams during the down years.

Purdue, located in West Lafayette, Ind., does have some history to work with. It has produced 20 consensus All-Americans, owns eight Big Ten titles and has reached 17 bowl games.

Quarterback Drew Brees led the program to the Rose Bowl to conclude the 2000 season.

The team's current roster has no East Texans, but it will feature seven players from the state. Former John Tyler cornerback Isaac Warren was committed to the Boilermakers before backing out in December and ultimately signing with Northwestern State.

In addition to Foster, Purdue is actively recruiting Nacogdoches safety Brandon Jones in the Class of 2016 cycle.

Foster helped Newton reach the Class 3A Division II state championship game with 91 carries for 586 yards and 14 touchdowns in addition to 66 tackles and an interception on the defensive side.

Newton has a few holes to fill after losing Texas A&M defensive back signee Roney Elam and a handful of other successful athletes, but the 2015 team will return a second player receiving college interest. Senior linebacker Tanner Holmes has invitations to join Central Arkansas and McNeese State after graduation.

Foster, like all 2016 football prospects, will become eligible to sign with any program that offers him on Feb. 3.

2016 East Texas Football Players With Division I FBS Offers

  • Austin Anderson, OL, Mineola, 6-4, 289 – committed to Texas A&M; additional offers from Arizona State, Arkansas State, Auburn, California, Cincinnati, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina, North Texas, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, SMU, Southern Miss, TCU, Texas, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Vanderbilt (27)
  • Riley Anderson, OL, Mineola, 6-5, 287 – committed to Texas A&M; additional offers from Arizona State, Arkansas State, Auburn, California, Cincinnati, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina, North Texas, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, SMU, Southern Miss, Texas, TCU, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Vanderbilt (27)
  • Demarco Boyd, RB/LB, Gilmer, 6-0, 215 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Baylor, Florida State, Texas A&M (4)
  • Gabe Foster, RB/DB, Newton, 6-3, 180 — offer from Purdue (1)
  • Ke’Mon Freeman, QB/ATH, Liberty-Eylau, 5-11, 188 – offers from Arkansas State, North Texas (2)
  • Travon Fuller, CB, Athens, 6-0, 160 — committed to Texas A&M (1)
  • Alex Gregory, WR, Nacogdoches, 5-11, 175 —offer from Texas State (1)
  • Zach Hall, ATH, Tyler Lee, 5-11, 170 – offers from Baylor, Texas Tech (2)
  • La’Darius Hamilton, LB, Corrigan-Camden, 6-1, 220 — offer from ULL (1)
  • Keenen Johnson, ATH, Alto, 6-1, 190 – offers from SMU, ULL (2)
  • Brandon Jones, S, Nacogdoches, 6-0, 190 — offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Boise State, California, Florida State, Georgia, Houston, Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, SMU, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UCLA, USC, Washington State (38)
  • Braylon Jones, DT, John Tyler, 6-3, 285 – offers from Air Force, Army, Colorado State, Houston, Navy (5)
  • Bronson Massie, DE/LB, Lufkin 6-3, 202 – offers from California, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech, Texas State (4)
  • Denzel Mims, WR, Daingerfield, 6-4, 180 – offers from Arkansas State, Texas Tech (2)
  • Cody Mitchell, TE, Jasper, 6-5, 225 — offers from Illinois, Louisiana Tech, Missouri, Texas State, ULL (5)
  • Kendrick Rogers, WR, Frankston, 6-6, 207 — offers from Arkansas State, Cincinnati, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Mississippi State, North Texas, SMU, ULL, ULM (10)
  • Micahh Smith, DB, Marshall, 5-11, 185 — offer from Texas State (1)
  • Aphonso Thomas, RB, Van, 6-0, 190 — offers from Colorado State, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Texas State (5)
  • Andre Wiley Jr., OLB/S, Liberty-Eylau, 5-10, 170 – offers from Arkansas State, Army, Louisiana Tech, Navy (4)