The Bruins have opened their 2023 recruiting class with a bang.
UCLA football earned its first commitment in next year's cycle Friday night when local cornerback Maliki Crawford picked the Bruins as his next destination. Crawford was sitting on 16 offers from Division I programs, including Michigan, Florida State, Minnesota, Michigan State, Miami and a handful of Pac-12 schools.
USC extended Crawford an offer Wednesday, but it didn't take long for him to pick a side in the crosstown rivalry.
Crawford is entering his junior season at Pacifica High School (CA) in Oxnard. He took an unofficial visit to Westwood on June 8 that ended with a scholarship offer – the Bruins' second of the cycle and first to a defensive player.
The 6-foot-3, 170-pound corner took another unofficial visit to Wasserman Football Center on Friday and committed that night.
"I'm really excited to be a Bruin," Crawford told 247Sports. "I loved the all around fit and it just felt like the best place for me. I've always liked UCLA and have had a couple of really good visits earlier in the week and last month too. ... I was the first defensive player they offered in my class and that meant a lot to me. Plus I love the location and it's a chance for my family to see me play anytime. My family visited with me and they loved it too and it's a great academic fit as well so it just felt like the best all around move for me."
Crawford is rated as four-star recruit by ESPN, 247Sports and the 247Sports Composite. All three systems have Crawford ranked as a top-300 recruit in the nation.
Going by Crawford's 247Sports Composite rating, he stands to the be the highest-rated defensive back to come to UCLA since Kelly took the job in Nov. 2017. Overall, Crawford ranks fifth in the Kelly era only behind receiver Chase Cota, left tackle Sean Rhyan, linebacker Damian Sellers and tight end Jack Pederson.
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