Maximo Espitia played quarterback, running back, safety and punter at high school in Oregon. Since arriving at Cal in the fall of 2012, he has seen time at fullback, tight end, wide receiver and safety.
Now, entering his junior season, Espitia is a linebacker.
“We’re going to stick him there, leave him alone, and hopefully he can find a home,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said after Friday’s 11th of 15 spring practices.
In fact, Espitia has been one of the pleasant surprises of spring ball for the Bears after being moved to his new spot at outside linebacker for the first workout on March 31.
“I know he doesn’t really know what he’s doing yet, but he does some things naturally,” defensive coordinator Art Kaufman said. “Just his movement skills, his reads and being in position as much as anything else.”
Dykes said Espitia has performed at a consistent level through spring workouts and has a solid chance to compete for a starting job next fall.
“That’s definitely something I’ve been waiting to hear,” Espitia said. “Now that I’ve finally heard it, it’s my time to see what I can do.”
Recruited to Cal as fullback then moved almost immediately to tight end, Espitia was basically without a position last fall after coach Jeff Tedford was fired because Dykes’ offense rarely utilizes either position.
He was shifted to a slot receiver position, then volunteered to try safety late in the season when injuries left the Bears shorthanded. Linebacker was another position of need for Cal, and Espitia has picked things up quickly.
“I had concerns about how physical he would be, and he’s answered those concerns so far,” Dykes said.