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March 19, 2012

Could five-star S Cravens be a fit for Texas?

The Texas Longhorns are off to a strong start to the 2013 recruiting class, picking up talented players at just about every position. Looking down the UT commitment list, there are pledges on offense at the skill positions and multiple commitments along the offensive line. On defense, Texas has secured verbal pledges from players all along the defensive line and at linebacker. Noticeably absent are any commitments from defensive backs.

The absence of players in the secondary is by design.

Defensive backs coach Duane Akina has taken things at a very slow pace as he continues to evaluate players both in-state and from around the country. With only a couple available DB scholarships in the 2013 class, Akina and the UT coaches are being very selective as they try to find elite players who can step in and potentially lend immediate depth to the Texas secondary.

One prospect who is surely near the top of UT's wish list is five-star defender Su'a Cravens. A five-star prospect out of Vista Murrieta high school in California, Cravens has offers from top programs all over the map. He's been in contact with the Texas coaches, including Akina and head coach Mack Brown. Texas hasn't extended a formal written scholarship offer, but Cravens has essentially been told that UT would welcome him with open arms.

"I talked to coach Akina a couple months before signing day. I asked about a scholarship and he said they don't offer juniors until after signing day, after they get that under control," Cravens said. "As the process went on, I started getting letters from Texas. Then I talked to coach Akina and coach Brown. Coach Brown basically said if I want a scholarship offer, I have it."

The 6-1, 205-pound Cravens is a versatile player who excels on both sides of the ball. Texas actually talked to him about playing either running back or in the defensive backfield.

"We were talking about my position they're recruiting me at and me taking a visit out to Texas. They said liked me at safety or running back," Cravens said. "I know they signed two RBs in last [two] classes, so it probably wouldn't be as running back."

At this stage of the recruiting process, Cravens has no plans to attend any summer camps. He had considered taking an official visit to Texas next fall, but after talking over his options with his family, he's decided he'll only visit programs from which he's received formal scholarship offers. If the contact with the UT coaches continues and the offer situation is clarified, a visit to Austin is still a possibility. Right now, Cravens is keeping all options open.

"Nobody is ahead of anybody else on my list of interest. If Texas offered, that would be big. I've never been to the campus so I'd like to see that," Cravens said.

"Texas is always fighting for Big 12 championship, always fighting for national bowl games ... I watch Texas play OU every year in the Red River Rivalry. They always play in big atmospheres. Texas plays on one of the biggest stages in college football. I like that."

Ranked No. 5 on the Rivals100, and ranked as the country's top safety prospect, Cravens said this week that he's not completely ruling out the possibility of an early commitment. But he's not going to force the issue and will not make any moves until he's done thorough research. There's speculation by some that he could wind up staying in state and that USC could have the inside track, but Cravens said he's keeping an open mind.

"USC is a nice school and it's right down the street. I grew up in L.A.," Cravens said. "But just because USC is in California, that doesn't mean they're going to get me. They have to work for me just like eveybody else, have to recruit me just like everybody else."



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