Natick's Hilger to attend Purdue as walk-on

While things might not have come about the way Alex Hilger envisioned, the Natick senior wide receiver believes he’s found the right fit at Purdue University next year.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder was hampered by injuries in each of his last two seasons with the Redhawks, but gave his intent to join the Boilermakers with preferred walk-on status, announcing his decision Sunday via Twitter.

“I really felt that hindered my recruiting process immensely,” Hilger said of his bouts with shoulder injuries in his junior and senior years. “I feel like I would have found some scholarship offers, and there was nothing.”

Hilger held offers from Assumption and Stonehill, and UMass-Amherst had inquired, but he held out hope for catching on with a major FBS program. Redhawks head coach Mark Mortarelli had sent Hilger’s senior game film to more than 30 Division 1 programs, but had yet to hear back from any – that is until Purdue linebackers coach Marcus Freeman reached out to him.

After talking to members of Purdue’s coaching staff, Hilger took an official visit to the Lafayette, Indiana campus and knew he’d found his future home.

“The stadium was beautiful, the facilities were amazing, the coaching staff was A-plus, top of the line,” Hilger told ESPN Boston in a phone interview on Monday. “The people in Indiana are so nice, too. The only con was that there was no scholarship money.

“But this is an amazing opportunity.”

After missing time during the regular season, Hilger rebounded to lead the Redhawks in the Division 2 South playoffs last season, leading the state in receiving yards (278) with four touchdowns through their two playoff games.

Hilger will join the Boilermakers as a wide receiver, as graduation has left the program thin at the position. And, with an opportunity for immediate growth ahead of him, Hilger’s intent is to enter practice with a chip on his shoulder.

“I’m ready to go in their work and prove that I belong playing with those guys,” he said.