The Journal Gazette
Friday, November 26, 2021 1:00 am

Some super seniors are in 7th year on campus

STEPHEN HAWKINS | Associated Press

Luc Bequette redshirted after first getting to Cal as a freshman back in 2015. The 24-year-old defensive end is now finishing his college career with the Bears after a full season away at Boston College.

Thad Mangum is in his second season with South Florida after five years at Wofford College, where his anticipated senior season ended with a knee injury in the 2019 season opener. The defensive lineman has 32 tackles for the Bulls, and had a 20-yard catch in their last game.

Minnesota defensive tackle Micah Dew-Treadway, at 315 pounds bigger than Bequette and Mangum, redshirted twice during four seasons at Notre Dame, first as a freshman in 2015 and again the next year because of a foot injury. He joined the Golden Gophers as a grad transfer in 2019.

Those massive defenders aren't your average super seniors. They are wrapping up their seventh seasons of college football.

“When he's no longer here, it's going to feel awkward,” California coach Justin Wilcox said of Bequette.

The defensive tackle has played in 50 games for the Bears, including four in 2016 before an injury that led to a medical redshirt. He also started all 11 games last year at Boston College, where he went after the Pac-12 initially called off the 2020 season before later reinstating it.

Sixth-year players are common this season after the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to all fall athletes last year because of the pandemic that led to seasons being delayed, shortened and, in some cases, even canceled for some teams. But that also opened the door for some players to stay even longer after they had already been granted an extra year above the usual five years to complete four seasons.

There is even an eighth-year player this season: 26-year-old linebacker Jared Folks, who has 74 tackles for FCS playoff team East Tennessee State (10-1). He already has a bachelor's degree in communications, a masters in marketing and is finishing up his MBA degree.

After Folks redshirted in 2014 at Temple, he tore his right labrum during preseason practice and missed the following season. He was a starting linebacker for six games in 2016, but injured his left labrum and had surgery after that season. He appeared in only one more game for the Owls after that.

Folks had six sacks in 2018 as a redshirt senior after transferring to East Tennessee, and the school appealed on his behalf to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility for the time missed at Temple because of injuries. He got yet another NCAA waiver after being sidelined most of 2019 because of a groin injury. That took him into the 2020 season that didn't count against anybody.

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