“Which position do you think Su’a Cravens will play at USC?”
It’s a tribute to Su’a Cravens that so many position coaches are fighting to get him at their spot, but I think his eventual destination for the Trojans will be at free safety.
The USC style of defense requires a big-time playmaker in that role. When I see Cravens in action, he makes me think of Troy Polamalu. They have different body types -- Cravens is a little taller and leaner -- but both possess the ballhawking instincts that set them apart from their peers. Not only that, they are both exceptionally physical and aggressive at the point of attack.
Like Cravens, Polamalu was also a terrific natural athlete who could have made a good running back for the Trojans. Cravens might heard a word or two from Troy’s uncle, USC running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu, about making the switch to offense. But my guess is that he stays on defense.
The short answer is outside linebacker. The long answer is how dare you try to force me to stick Su'a Cravens at only one position. While he is a terrific safety, it's important to keep in mind that Cravens is still only 16 years old and will certainly add weight as he matures and moves into a college weight program. With a player this talented, it makes sense to try to keep him as close to the ball as possible, and with his physical nature and ability to blitz, linebacker is such an obvious fit.
However, Cravens' biggest asset is also the reason why this answer is so complicated. The fact is that there is almost no way Cravens plays "a position" at USC. He's almost certain to line up at multiple spots. He is the kind of player you find ways to move around a defense, whether it's lining him up at safety, linebacker or even as a rush end. And that's only on one side of the ball. Offensively, it wouldn't be surprising to see him make an impact carrying the ball or lining up in the slot.
Although he could obviously excel at a number of positions on both sides of the line of scrimmage, my thoughts are that Cravens will end up a free safety, although an outside linebacker or strong safety spot wouldn’t shock me. He appears to be in the mold of Trojans standout linebacker Dion Bailey, who successfully moved from safety to linebacker before the 2011 season.
What will be intriguing to me in regard to Craven’s eventual position will be its effect on future recruits such as Mission Viejo’s Max Redfield, another outstanding safety prospect. It’s possible that Redfield could end up a free safety and Cravens being positioned as a strong safety. That combo could become quite a devastating force in the Trojans secondary. The beauty of Craven’s multi-talented abilities is that they allow for all sorts of positive recruiting mixing and matching.