Five-star safety Su'a Cravens is one of the most skilled athletes our analysts have ever seen at the college level. And he's headed to USC. Our Greg Biggins gives you the scoop on Cravens' skills, recruitment and more.
Get to know him
High school: Vista Murrieta HS (Murrieta, Calif.)
Rating: (No. 1 overall S)
Biggest strength: Cravens does everything well and is the most versatile player in the West region. He can run, hit and cover and his football instincts are about as good as any player I've seen in the last five years. He doesn't just play the game, he thinks it and his ability to read/react and decipher a play and then finish it are off the charts.
Area for improvement: Cravens plays linebacker but will move to safety in college. He'll want to improve his overall speed and range to make a smooth adjustment to playing in the secondary, but there's no reason to think he can't and has already proven it during the 7-on-7 circuit last summer.
NFL player he reminds us of: Cravens has been compared to Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, and there is some validity there. They're similar in size and play with the same fire and energy. Like Polamalu coming out of high school, Cravens was a great offensive player as well and could have easily been an elite prospect as a running back or receiver.
Q: At a time when USC is seeing recruits second-guess their commitments, this elite prospect seems to be sticking with it. What makes him so solid to the Trojans?
Biggins: USC was his childhood dream school and once they offered him, there was no chance he was going anywhere else. He never wavered and didn't even take any other visits except to USC.
Q: Is there any reason for USC fans to fear he'll have a change of heart before Signing Day?
Biggins: He has already graduated and is currently enrolled at USC and will participate in spring ball.
Q: What are the biggest positives he will bring to the college field?
Biggins: He has great football instincts and knows how to play the game. He's one of those guys that is always around the ball and seems to be a step ahead of everyone else. He's a great all-around athlete, with the frame to play safety or grow into a linebacker, depending on what the team needs. He's a sure tackler, very physical in run support and has great ball skills as well.
Q: Does he have a shot to get on the field as a freshman?
Biggins: The fact that he's already enrolled and will take part in spring ball will definitely help Cravens make an early impact. There is an opening at safety at USC and Cravens has a legitimate shot to earn a starting spot when fall camp rolls around. He's such a smart player that he'll be able to pick up the playbook and adjust to the speed of the game better than your average high school athlete.
Q: You wrote in November that he might be underrated despite his already lofty ranking. How highly should we think of his college prospects?
Biggins: I think his rating as a top five player nationally is right on. By underrated, I mean you don't hear him talked about historically that much and I think he's not just the top player in the state this year but an all-decade type of talent. You really can't find a weakness in his game as he combines all the physical skills you could want with the instincts of a Matt Grootegoed, the former high school star who's kind of the poster boy when talking about football instinct and IQ. He has a tremendous work ethic off the field, is a real student of the game and assuming he stays injury free, should have a long, prosperous career.
In his own words
"(USC) can lose four games, five, six, they lost to Georgia Tech. I don’t care how many games they lose. I’m going to go there and just go to work. That was last year and this is this year. I’m going in with my head on straight and start." -- Jan. 3