BERKELEY (KPIX) – Once it became clear COVID was going to wreak havoc on the 2020 college football season, the NCAA elected to add an extra year of eligibility for certain athletes. The decision opened the door for football players to go on the seven year plan – like Cal's Luc Bequette.
"Back when I was committing, I sent out a tweet saying I was excited spend the next three to five years in Berkeley," Bequette said. "I think it put a curse on me."
He's a true blue Cal Bears, but Bequette is more like a unicorn. The son of Olympic figure skater Debi Thomas is one of about ten football players nationwide to take advantage of the unique opportunity.
"To be apart of the record books is a special deal to me," he said.
Injury played a big role in the defensive lineman's path to becoming a super, super senior. After redshirting his freshman year in 2015, then suffered a lower body injury in 2016 and received a medical waiver from the NCAA.
He played 2017, 2018, and 2019 when he won the program's award for best defensive lineman. Bequette was set to play his final year at Cal until the Pac-12 originally acted to cancel 2020 because of the pandemic.
"Once I heard the news I started tearing up because I knew what it meant," he recalled.
With designs on playing at the next level, Bequette didn't want to risk sitting out a year and got an immediate transfer to Boston College. He played a full 11 game season with the Eagles, but wasn't convinced his 6 th year would be his last.
"I was ready to join the real world and start interning at a place here in Berkeley," he said. "Then in February I had two dreams that I was back playing football at Cal."
Seven years of college football almost always happens in a dream, but Bequette decided to take advantage of the NCAA ruling and rejoined head coach Justin Wilcox defense.
"Never have I been around someone who has played seven seasons," laughed Wilcox.
Wilcox was an assistant at Wisconsin when Bequette was recruited by then-head coach Sonny Dykes in 2015, but Wilcox was thrilled to reintegrate Bequette's unprecedented amount of experience.
The freshman on today's team were barely out of elementary when Bequette was teaming up with quarterback Jared Goff who is now in his sixth NFL season.
"I was in the 7 th grade," laughed freshman linebacker Femi Oladejo.
Wilcox had a chuckle that some of his younger players couldn't believe Bequette was born in 1997 when they first met him. He's adopted the nickname "Uncle Luc" in the locker room.
"My cousin said I should reach out to Life Alert to get an NIL (name, image, likeness) deal," Bequette joked about his senior standing.
If seven years of college football is heaven, could eight be great? East Tennessee State's Jordan Folks returned for his 8 th season.
"I said I'd never be back for a seventh year," he said. "Guess you can't rule anything out."
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