Trojans emphasizing versatility

The USC coaches could employ Su'a Cravens in a variety of ways in their defense. Erik McKinney for ESPN.com

LOS ANGELES -- The desire to find players who can excel at multiple positions is nothing new for college programs. Even in recent years at USC, players have shuffled positions from year to year. Josh Pinkard bounced between safety and cornerback. Brian Cushing moved from his traditional outside linebacker spot to a stand-up defensive end and then back again during his Trojans career. Due to NCAA sanctions limiting USC to 75 scholarship players for each of the next three seasons, Lane Kiffin's ability to find players who can fill multiple positions -- or even play on both sides of the ball -- will be more necessity than luxury.

This idea is evident with the 2013 recruiting class, but it goes back several years for Kiffin and the Trojans. When he took over in January 2010, USC was dangerously low at several positions, but none more so than linebacker. Two years later, the Trojans find themselves strengthened at the position, thanks in large part to Dion Bailey -- ESPN's No. 31 safety in 2010 -- and Hayes Pullard, the No. 53 athlete.

Through one season, the 2011 class already has provided several diverse athletes, as Tre Madden played linebacker as a true freshman before moving to tailback this spring. Cody Temple was the No. 110 offensive guard in his class but performed well at defensive tackle during spring practices before being forced to the sideline with an injury. In a cruel twist, losing both players -- Temple for the summer and Madden for the season -- who seemed to make successful position switches simply hammers home the need for multi-positional players.