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December 30, 2011

The first five-stars: Su'a Cravens

MORE 5-STARS: Nkemdiche | Fuller | Foster | Tyner | Tunsil | Burrows | Bigelow | Browne | Swoopes

They are the best of the best. The players that are wanted by every program and destined to make a big impact at the college level and beyond.

Rivals.com has identified the first five-star prospects for the 2013 class and is unveiling them this week. Ten prospects have been awarded five-stars but are not ranked at this time and we will profile two each day. The final player to receive the five-star spotlight is Murrieta (Calif.) Vista safety Su'a Cravens.

Five stars: Su'a Cravens
Cravens had 96 tackles, 11 sacks and three interceptions on defense in 2011.
Su'a Cravens, S/OLB, Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta

Attributes: 6-1, 205 pounds, 4.5 40

Top schools: Cravens has a top five of Arkansas, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Stanford and USC. He also has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Cal, Colorado, Hawaii, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Purdue, UCLA, Utah State and Washington.

Scouting report: While Cravens thrives at running back and wide receiver, his future is on the defensive side of the ball at safety or outside linebacker. He finished with 96 tackles, 11 sacks and three interceptions in his junior season. On offense, Cravens averaged nearly 17 yards-per-catch and he rushed for 673 yards and 15 touchdowns. His versatility is extraordinary because he looks comfortable at every position he plays. There is hardly a time where Cravens isn't making an impact on the game. The Vista Murrieta standout doesn't deliver a ton of big hits but he's always in the right spot to make the play and he does a great job reading the quarterback when he's in coverage. When Cravens blitzes he's almost unstoppable because he's sneaky fast and almost never misses a tackle.

Analyst's take: "If there is one player that resembles Shaq Thompson in the 2013 class it is probably Cravens because he has a lot of the same attributes and the same skill set and that's a huge compliment because Thompson is an outstanding player. There has been chatter among some highly-respected people that Cravens was the most valuable player in Southern California this season. Don't forget, Vista Murrieta will be 10-4 in the books but they didn't lose a game on the field. The team had to forfeit some games but they never lost one. Cravens was a huge part in that success. To think he has another year of high school left is incredible because he was so dominant this season and almost did things at will. He is a special player who can continue to get better." - Adam Gorney, West Analyst, Rivals.com

Why he's a five-star: "The top player in the state of California always gets five-star consideration obviously, but it doesn't mean it's a lock this early. However, with Cravens skill set and versatility, as well as his ability to dominate games, he is a guy who just jumps out on the film. Whether its making a big play off the edge in the run game or playing the ball in the air, he is well rounded as a safety prospect or even a guy who could grow into a linebacker. His offensive ability is simply a bonus and shows how athletic he truly is." - Mike Farrell, National Analyst, Rivals.com

His coach says: "I told him when he was a freshman, I said, 'This is how it's going to work, either you're going to be a good high school football player who's going to play in college or I am going to be - I can't say it in the paper - basically I'm going to be in your grill every day you don't give 100-percent effort. You want to be good, you're already good, you don't have to do one thing. If you want to be great you have to have the work ethic to be the best around.' We're slowly getting there. With those special kids they play through Pop Warner, they play through middle school and they run around and make plays. We don't want him to run around and make plays. We want him to play team defense and make plays. That's been an adjustment, especially for a kid who's done it for 16 years and been successful." - Vista Murrieta coach Coley Candaele

Odds and ends: Cravens got a taste of recruiting earlier than most because his brother, Siaki, heard from many schools before picking Hawaii. The Warriors have also offered the junior standout but they're not in his top five…Cravens was originally recruited by USC to play halfback but after numerous conversations with the coaching staff it has been decided he could play defense….Cravens team went 14-0 but had to forfeit four games due to an ineligible player….Cravens is teammates with 2012 four-star defensive end Jeremy Castro who is committed to Oregon.

NFL player comparison: Antrel Rolle, Green Bay Packers



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