Coast to coast: The 7-year career of Cal defensive lineman Luc Bequette

photo of Luc Bequette
Can Jozef Saul/Staff

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even years. 

That’s how long Luc Bequette has dedicated himself to collegiate football. 

To put that into perspective, in seven years, you could attend a four-year undergraduate program and graduate from law school. You could spend a full calendar year on every continent in the world. You could even run for president, win and then serve a full four-year term in office with time leftover to campaign for your second run.

To some, seven years might seem like too many to spend on a sport that may or may not turn into a career. But to Bequette, every second of his time spent training and bettering himself for the good of his team is worth it. He’s the kind of person who doesn’t regret the choices he’s made or the places he’s ended up.

And for good reason. Bequette is a veteran defensive lineman at Cal who leads his team by example and through his charismatic personality. He has a handful of supportive friends and family members who can attest that he can adapt to any situation and overcome adversity with a smile on his face. The impact he’s made on Cal, both as an athlete and as a student, is far-reaching.

Bequette will close out his seventh and last year playing college football Saturday against USC with aspirations of making it to the NFL. A combination of his time spent playing for the Bears and a temporary hiatus to train with Boston College has led him to this final matchup, during which he’ll work to prove he has what it takes to bring his football career to the next level. 

Regardless of how Saturday goes, however, Bequette has seven years of wisdom to know that everything will work out the way it’s meant to. NFL or not, he’s ready to take on his future.

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common question Bequette gets asked by reporters and fans alike is why he chose to spend his sixth year of eligibility playing for Boston College rather than continuing at Cal. 

Bequette’s detour on his path to starting and ending his collegiate career with the Bears happened during the 2020 season, when it was uncertain whether or not Cal would be able to play due to pandemic restrictions. 

Bequette didn’t want to take the chance of having to sit out a season and transferred to Boston College, where he ended up playing in 11 games compared to the two or three he would have been able to play with Cal. Even though he doesn’t regret his move to the East Coast, it was hard to swallow the news when the Pac-12 announced it would be playing during the 2020 season just after Bequette had moved to Boston. 

“Of course, the moment I get settled into Boston and I’m in quarantine once I get there, the Pac-12 announces they’re going to play again,” Bequette said.

Put yourself into Bequette’s shoes — imagine you uprooted your life to move across the country to play football, just to find out that the program you thought wouldn’t get to play was granted a season. Any ordinary football player would have found this highly frustrating. Bequette, however, took it in stride.

To Bequette, a move to the East Coast felt natural. He spent his childhood moving around from school to school for his father’s job. He attended three different high schools over the course of four years, and through that journey was able to learn how to stay resilient in the face of change.

“All things considered, I definitely think it worked out just because of how tough Cal’s season unfortunately went last year,” Bequette said. 

Boston was a bump on Bequette’s path that worked out for the better and gave him the opportunity to gain more experience before returning to the Bay. 

“He went to Boston College during COVID just trying to reinvent himself, reinvent his career and deal with the times,” said Cameron Saffle, a former Cal football player and Bequette’s close friend. “You know, some people might look at it as a bad thing, but it’s not an easy thing to do to go to a new school and in the blink of an eye have a good season.”

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ne thing that’s remained highly important to Bequette over the course of his seven years is his relationships with friends and family. These connections helped him make it through his time at Boston College and have strengthened his resilience and ability to persevere. 

Bequette comes from a long line of football players. His father, Chris Bequette, was a defensive lineman at Arkansas and is a financial adviser for college and professional football coaches. His cousin played for the New England Patriots, and his uncle played for the Razorbacks.

Alongside his family, Bequette has formed meaningful relationships with teammates. Most notably, Bequette met Saffle, who would become his closest friend, during his freshman year with the team. Fans might remember Saffle as the Cal linebacker turned actor who starred in Doja Cat’s “Need to Know” music video, but to Bequette, Saffle is someone he’s been able to rely on throughout his career.

Bequette and Saffle were both placed in the Unit 3 residence halls their first year on the team and bonded over the typical freshman experiences — staying up late with hallmates, eating in the dining halls and struggling with challenging classes. Saffle jokingly claims that one of his favorite memories with Bequette is the time Bequette broke his dorm room TV and only admitted to it three years later. 

“I knew he had broken it the entire time, but it was just funny for him to finally admit to it because he had this guilt over him,” Saffle said. “I mean, it was a TV that cost literally nothing, so it was more of an inside joke. I still use it against him.”

In reality, Saffle’s favorite memories with Bequette are the everyday moments they’ve spent together.

“It was great being able to have somebody there (at Cal) that you didn’t really have to think about twice just because you knew that they were on the same page as you,” Saffle said.

Bequette recognizes the importance of friends in his collegiate journey and is grateful for the support they’ve offered him. He credits football for having helped him form so many meaningful relationships.

His seven years on the team have transformed his perspective on life and, along the way, introduced him to people who have left a meaningful impact on the way he approaches football and the world.

“My biggest takeaway is the incredible number and quality of friends I’ve been able to make throughout my whole career,” Bequette said.

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aturday is senior night and Bequette’s last college football game. Under the glare of Memorial Stadium’s lights and with the red shine of the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, Bequette will step onto FTX Field one final time. 

It’s impossible to put into words what the culmination of seven years’ work and dedication to one sport must feel like, especially with uncertainty over whether he’ll play with a team ever again. 

Since day one, Bequette has dedicated himself to football and his team. Following his return to the West Coast from Boston College, he’s brought veteran experience that has helped guide younger players and demonstrate to them just how far hard work can get you.

Cal is a football program known for its capacity to put in the work. While the Bears might not always have the most talented recruits, the conviction that effort and dedication can get you just as far as pure talent can has helped the blue and gold land some of their most important victories of the season. 

Bequette, a product of the team, reflects this mentality.

“His strong-mindedness and his ability to persevere through adversity is something that he’s been very attuned to his entire life. He has high aspirations of making the NFL,” Saffle said. “ And, you know, I just can’t wait for him to get that shot.

Mia Horne is the sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].