USC’s recruiting class of 2013 took a hit at the end of the road, but the young athletes that stayed true to Troy are already making moves in fall camp. Once such member is Su’a Cravens, and he is busy looking to make a name for himself in his first season in Southern California. For the Cravens family, strong ties in collegiate athletics spread deep, with Su’a being the youngest of an outstanding lineage of prominent success on the field.
His sister, Malia, currently competes on the track team at USC as a high jumper while his brother Siaki was a defensive lineman for the University of Hawaii. Two of his cousins played football (2008-10) and women’s basketball (2005-09) respectively and even his grandfather, Jack Cravens, played basketball and baseball at BYU in the 1950s.
Another chip off the old block, Su’a works through Fall Camp with plenty of potential and high expectations moving forward in his career. “It feels good to be out there with those guys, I haven’t been with the first team in a while,” Cravens said, following his outstanding effort with the first-team defense.
Playing a crucial role in USC’s defense will be nothing new for Cravens, who spent a bulk of high school carer making outstanding plays all over the field for Vista Murrieta High School. As a senior last fall, Cravens tallied an outstanding 97 tackles, eight sacks, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and three blocked punts on defense for the 13-1 CIF Vista Murrieta Broncos.
Two weeks into Fall Camp, Cravens already looks prime to be a major playmaker on the defensive side of the ball, continuing to shine in many situations. “Playmakers make plays so if I want to be a playmaker, I have to be on every ball,” Cravens said of the style of play he wants to implement this season. These improvements were best felt during the second fall scrimmage on Friday, when he acquired five tackles (2 TFL), and two sacks from the secondary.
Playing alongside Demetrius Wright in the Trojans’ starting secondary on Friday, Cravens embraced the rare opportunity to compete at the highest level while on the biggest stage of the Coliseum. “I didn’t come here just to sit on the bench,” Cravens said. “I came to ‘SC to try and get on the field as fast as I can.”
The reward could not come any faster for Cravens, who is fighting the camp injury bug that seemingly catches more and more players by the day. Following a fast start to Spring Football and now a mere 12 days away from the opening game of the season, Cravens has experienced an entire culture change since stepping foot on campus in January.
“I’m not used to waking up every day at 6 in the morning, work during practice, go to meetings, go back to practice and go back to meetings,” Cravens told Gary Klein, the USC beat writer for the LA Times.”It’s hard to stay up, and do it the next day, but I’m getting used to the grind.”
Life in the big city has been filled with a fair share of experiences. In camp, Cravens rooms with electric personality Dion Bailey. Combine Cravens with a player voted as one the best dancers on the team, and the tandem of newly-adjusted safeties have a relationship filled with plenty of interesting moments to say the least.
“He has been mentoring me throughout this whole process. Even today, I came off the sideline and he told me what I did wrong,” Su’a said about Bailey following a play during the scrimmage. He jokingly added that “I don’t ever hear what I did right from him, its always what I did wrong and what I need to improve.”
Cravens has already made his impact felt especially during the second Fall Camp scrimmage. After begging his coaches to install a new blitz package that was set kick in next week, Cravens got the green light to attack the defense with an a-gap blitz, resulting with a crushing hit in the backfield thanks to some help from one of his growing mentors on the field.
“That tackle for a loss was a really big play for me,” Cravens said, describing one of his two tackles for loss. “Hayes clearing out the whole for me – he has kind of been a mentor- coming in behind him was kind of a one-two punch.”
Working his way back from a minor injury suffered early in camp, Cravens continues to power through each and every day with a few basic concepts grilled into his mind like his USC Student ID Number. “Stay in the training room, stay healthy, keep working on my rehab,” according to Cravens. “I’m just gonna keep doing what I am doing”