Former USC football star Su’a Cravens took to Twitter Saturday night to argue his place among the all-time Trojan greats.
Is Su’a Cravens one of USC football’s all-time best players? The hybrid safety-linebacker made his case on Twitter Saturday night, citing mastery of multiple positions and the misfortunes of his era.
The newly-drafted Washington Redskins player was responding in large part to the All-Trojan team compiled by Dan Weber for USCFootball.com, spanning the site’s existence from 2002 to 2015.
Weber’s defense included Shaun Cody, Mike Patteron, Sedrick Ellis, Kenechi Udeze, Leonard Williams, Lofa Tatupu, Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing, Troy Polamalu, Darnell Bing, T.J. McDonald, Taylor Mays and Matt Grootegoed. Cravens was mentioned as one of the many talented Trojans left off.
Always one to speak his mind honestly and respectfully, Cravens dropped a series of tweets on the subject:
“In the most humble way possible, I believe I’m one of the best USC football players in school history. What hurts my case is the sanctions,” Cravens wrote. “I came N at one of the worst periods of time in USC football history and managed to play in a 10 win season, PAC 12 ship, beat 2 top 5 teams.”
Cravens isn’t exaggerating on those points. He joined USC with the 2013 class in the midst of crippling NCAA sanctions despite the meltdown of the 2012 season and uncertainty surrounding Lane Kiffin’s tenure as head coach.
His freshman season was marred by Kiffin’s midseason firing and he lived through the drama surrounding Ed Orgeron’s departure and the hiring of Steve Sarkisian. He underwent a position change late in fall camp leading into his sophomore season, then helped lead the team through even more upheaval when Sarkisian was fired for misconduct in the middle of his junior and final season at USC last year.
Through all that the Trojans did indeed win ten games in 2013. They also won the Pac-12 South in 2015 and knocked off highly-ranked Stanford in 2013 and Utah in 2015, both at the Coliseum.
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However, Cravens lacks the individual accolades of many Trojans in the last decade, having never achieved All-American status — a fact he teased displeasure with on Twitter.
“Don’t get me started on the All-American voting…. But I showed out at 2-3 different positions over 3 years with different staffs each year,” Cravens tweeted.
As a hybrid player, Cravens has a point there as well. He was named to the CBSSports.com, Phil Steele and CollegeSportsMadness.com All-American second teams, the AP All-American third team and picked up an SI.com All-American honorable mention in 2015 but couldn’t quite break into the first team anywhere.
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No doubt contributing to that was his shifting role on an often-shaky defense and USC’s lack of national profile.
“I take anything USC personally because I am a die hard and will always be a Trojan. I bleed anything Cardinal and gold,” wrote Cravens, noting his respect and love for Weber despite his disagreement on the All-Trojan team. “Keyword – ONE OF THE BEST to ever wear Cardinal and Gold. Alright, I leave it to yal to do as you please with it . #FightOn”
Though Cravens makes a decent case for his inclusion on more all-time USC squads thanks to the context of his career, the Trojans have had so many stand outs in the last decade, let alone the university’s entire history, it is near-impossible to compile a list of the greats without leaving worthy players out.
And there’s no question that Cravens proved himself worthy throughout his distinguished career.