USC needed cornerbacks the last two seasons, but now there is a shortage of safeties.
Gerald Bowman will exhaust his eligibility after the season and Su’a Cravens appears on track to play linebacker. That leaves Leon McQuay III and John Plattenburg as the only scholarship safeties.
Redshirt freshman Chris Hawkins was moved from cornerback to safety last week.
“It’s something that I feel like I can do,” he said.
Hawkins started four games at cornerback this season before he was replaced by Adoree’ Jackson, the Pac-12 freshman defensive player of the year. Hawkins has 32 tackles, an interception and three deflections.
McQuay did not practice Friday because of an injury, which prompted defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox to move Hawkins to safety, Hawkins said.
“I made a couple of plays and I started raising eyebrows,” said Hawkins, who intercepted a pass during his second practice at the position.
Hawkins said he has not played safety since his freshman year of high school. But he added that he does not care which position he plays.
“If they want me to do that permanently,” he said of playing safety, “I think I can.”