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USC football: Su'a Cravens getting chance to show his versatility

USC football: Su'a Cravens getting chance to show his versatility
USC's Su'a Cravens could see significant time at linebacker for the Trojans this season. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Su’a Cravens proved last season he could be an impact player for USC, earning freshman All-America recognition after intercepting four passes as a safety.

This season, he will get the opportunity to show his versatility.

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Linebacker Jabari Ruffin's season-ending knee injury spurred coaches to experiment with Cravens at linebacker.

"I'm cool with doing whatever the team needs me to do," said Cravens, who worked at linebacker with the first-team defense on Saturday.

The 6-foot-1 Cravens said he anticipated a hybrid role similar to one played by Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson, though “more safety than linebacker.”

Coach Steve Sarkisian said Cravens’ could be deployed as a linebacker against Pac-12 opponents such as Arizona State, Arizona and California, which run spread offenses.

"He can play man-to-man on receivers, he can blitz off the edge and he can still fit in the run game," Sarkisian said.

Cravens would play farther from the line of scrimmage at safety against opponents that run more traditional offenses, such as Stanford and Oregon State, Sarkisian said.

A versatile resume could help Cravens when he becomes eligible for the NFL draft.

Cravens is ready to play both positions for the Trojans.

"As long as I'm on the field," he said.

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