A film evaluation of Su'a Cravens, one the most coveted defensive prospects in the entire country
Su'a Cravens is one of the top recruits in the country. Out of Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta High School, Cravens stands 6'1" and weighs in at 205 pounds. He is a consensus five-star recruit, and most teams are recruiting him to play on the defensive side of the ball. Some of those schools include Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Boise State, California, Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Washington, Washington State and Wisconsin.
Strengths: Cravens possesses college-ready size, agility and athleticism. He also has a high football IQ.
Questions: Cravens will probably need to be evaluated at both strong safety and outside linebacker to determine where he best fits. Can he play safety at a higher weight considering he is likely far from done growing? Also, he is a physical ‘form' tackler but is not necessarily a ‘blow up' hitter
In-Depth Breakdown: Cravens is a prospect who has been on the Southern California recruiting radar for a few years now. And as he's progressed he has shown the ability to effect the game at any number of positions on both sides on the ball. On offense Cravens lines up primarily at the running back position and displays solid vision and short area quickness and exhibits creativity as a runner that I believe has been understated by most who have scouted his games. Also, he exhibits plus level vision and jump cut ability as he will take advantage of backside creases created by over pursuing defenders. He will also occasionally flank out wide as a receiver or in the slot and has the speed to threaten a defense vertically and the body control to win outside on contested throws. Cravens runs actual pass patterns and has the ability to quickly snap in and out of breaks at the top of routes. This speaks highly to his football IQ to be as proficient as he is at route running. And although Cravens would likely be an FBS caliber prospect as a running back or even an H-back, it's defense where he is being looked at primarily and carries the highest degree of upside.
Cravens has near freakish flexibility and movement skills for an athlete of his size. He is a true student of the game who understands the nuances of every position he is asked to play on the field. Some believe he would carry more value at the next level as a bigger safety type as opposed to linebacker. Granted, he possesses the tools to mature into an elite player at either position by most scout's estimation and reportedly is open to playing either in college.
Cravens is often used as an edge rusher by his high school team but generally lines up all over the field on defense. He is probably at his best near the line of scrimmage whether it's being the eighth man down in the box at strong safety or lined up at outside linebacker where he can pressure the passer from a stand up position. Cravens showcases good speed off the edge, generates good leverage, and as a natural knee bender breaks down and tackles with authority. He's not a blowup hitter, however.
Out in space, Cravens displays compact footwork that allows him to cleanly change direction and he is very sudden with plus level short area burst and quickness. Plays fast due to not only to having good field speed but shows excellent diagnostic skills and often times seems to be able to see 3-4 frames ahead of what's happening on the field during a particular play. Shows good range in coverage and can play hash to hash over the short to intermediate areas of the field but is rarely asked to help over the top on his film. That may be the one mystery that remains when breaking down the various aspects of his game. Overall, Cravens is a truly elite prospect that who combines a deep reservoir of talent with a high football IQ. This equates to him having a high ceiling with very little bust potential.
Su'a Cravens Junior Season Highlights (via mannahatamovies)