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2023 Ohio State Safety Target Malik Hartford Sets Commitment Date

The state's top-rated defensive back recently attended on of the Buckeyes' spring practices.
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West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West four-star safety Malik Hartford announced on Thursday afternoon he will make his college decision among finalists Cincinnati, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and West Virginia on April 6.

The 6-foot-3 and 175-pound Hartford is considered the 11th-best safety and No. 154 prospect overall in the class of 2023, as he recorded 58 tackles, two interceptions and one sack for the Firebirds last season while teaming up with incoming freshman offensive tackle Tegra Tshabola and early enrollee cornerback Jyaire Brown.

Hartford landed an offer from the Buckeyes following an unofficial visit on Jan. 22, during which he spent a considerable amount of time with head coach Ryan Day, defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and safeties coach Perry Eliano, who was the first coach to offer him a scholarship when he was with the Bearcats.

After naming his top seven schools in mid-February, Hartford returned to Columbus for another unofficial visit on March 10, which gave him a chance to watch the new assistant coaches in a spring practice setting. That visit, coupled with recent trips to see the Spartans and Wolverines, apparently put him in decision mode.

If Hartford commits to Ohio State, as expected, he will become the sixth member of the Buckeyes’ 2023 recruiting haul, joining Findlay, Ohio, four-star offensive tackle Luke Montgomery; Thompson’s Station (Tenn.) Independence four-star tight end Ty Lockwood; Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne four-star offensive guard Joshua Padilla; Titusville (Fla.) Cocoa four-star safety Cedrick Hawkins; and Dublin (Ohio) Coffman three-star defensive lineman Will Smith Jr.

He’ll also give Eliano his first pledge since joining the program this offseason and a rather significant win on the trail given the other programs involved in Hartford’s recruitment and his standing as one of the top-rated prospects in the state.

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