USC sophomore John Plattenburg wants to start at safety next season, but not by default.
Plattenburg and junior Leon McQuay are the only scholarship safeties on the roster this spring.
Third-year sophomore Chris Hawkins has taken reps at cornerback and safety. Four freshmen defensive backs will join the team in the fall.
"I want to be able to solidify my spot and not just be given my spot by depth," Plattenburg said last week.
Plattenburg, 5 feet 11 and 180 pounds, made the final play of Thursday's practice when he stripped the ball from a receiver.
Coach Steve Sarkisian said Plattenburg's maturity and the changes to his body stood out after two practices.
Plattenburg started six of the final seven games last season. He made 32 tackles and deflected four passes.
"I have a lot to build off of," he said.