It's safe to assume that Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, Calif.) will be a supremely motivated team in 2012.
While the Broncos went 14-0 on the field this past season, they had five of their wins forfeited due to a transfer student who was deemed ineligible. Despite the perfect record on the gridiron, they were not awarded with a CIF state bowl invitation. Given the stellar body of work on the field, the Broncos finished as the No. 42 team in the final POWERADE FAB 50 rankings.
Next fall, the Broncos will be led by the uniquely versatile Su'a Cravens, a two-way standout who is already one of the most coveted prospects of the 2013 class. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Cravens first garnered the attention of top college programs with his elite play as an outside linebacker and strong safety, but emerged as a force on offense this fall from the backfield. Some suggest that USC would love to have him as their future feature back, while other power programs, such as Oklahoma, envision him suiting up at safety or linebacker.
No matter the position, Cravens -- who comes from a long line of football players in his family -- has proven prolific on both sides of the ball.
Cravens scored 19 total touchdowns on offense and collected 96 tackles, 11 sacks and three interceptions on defense to earn a spot on both the ESPNHS All-American second team and the ESPNHS Underclass All-American team. In the team's four-game unbeaten run in the CIF Southern Section Inland Division playoffs Cravens elevated his already elite game to new heights, scoring seven touchdowns on offense while tallying 36 tackles and eight sacks on defense.
Given that he'll be a popular prospect that we'll be hearing from often over the next year, it's time to Get Familiar with Cravens.
ESPNHS: With such a strong history of football in your family, from your grandfather playing at BYU and now your brother Siaki Cravens playing on the defensive line at Hawaii and cousin Colby Cameron playing QB at Louisiana Tech, what has their influence been on your game as you've grown up?
Cravens: I've always loved the game of football. It's something that is just in my family, and my love for it has been natural since I was little. The greatest influence on my passion for the game was watching my older brother playing and seeing him make big plays and scoring touchdowns and I would say to myself that I wanted to do that one day. The passion that my father and my brother have for the game has always been there, and I share that with them.
ESPNHS: Your game really took a leap forward this season. What went into improving both sides of your game an particularly how you elevated your play in the postseason?
Cravens: I told myself going into the season that I would work hard on every drill and every play in practice on both sides to show my coaches that I could handle all the work and they wouldn't have to take me out in games. If I give 100 percent on every play in practice and don't get tired, it proves that I can handle it in the game. I really just think it was a matter of getting the chance to show what I can do, and the trust of my coaches and the play of my teammates is always a big part of my success.
ESPNHS: What is the best advice you can offer a younger player who wants to take their game to a higher level this offseason?
Cravens: Work with people that are better than you are. I would work with my brother when I was younger and still do in the summers when he's home. Working with guys that are better helps your game since they know how to improve and push themselves. I tell the younger guys on our team to come workout with me and our QB Nick Stevens. If you're working with guys that know how to prepare, you'll have no choice but to get better.
ESPNHS: Now that you are heading into your senior season and are one of the top players on the team, what are your goals as a team leader?
Cravens: I have to lead more vocally. I'm naturally one of the quiet guys on the field and in the huddle and that has to change. We have a lot of young guys with talent, and on and off the field they need to see that the seniors are emotionally invested and really set the right example. We'll set the tone early that we have high expectations.
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