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Cornerback Maliki Crawford Includes UCLA Football in New Top 5 Despite Decommitting

One of the top defensive backs in the West committed to the Bruins last summer before re-opening his recruitment in January.

Despite once decommitting from the Bruins, one of the top cornerbacks in the nation has included the blue and gold in his top five schools.

Class of 2023 cornerback Maliki Crawford cemented his top-five semifinalists for his recruitment on Friday, releasing them in conjunction with 247Sports. UCLA football – along with Cal, Oregon, USC and Washington – are the final options for the Pacifica High School (CA) defensive back.

The 6-foot-3 cornerback took an official visit to Westwood the weekend of May 20, and he will will visit the other four schools still vying for his eventual signature throughout June.

Crawford previously committed to the Bruins on July 30, but six months later on Jan. 23, he re-opened his commitment. Defensive backs coach Brian Norwood has kept in contact with the Oxnard, California, native, and across Crawford’s social media, he has reposted messages that UCLA has sent him since then.

Crawford spoke to 247Sports about his five Pac-12 finalists, highlighting his relationship with the staff new and old at UCLA.

“UCLA made my top five because I feel really comfortable with the coaching staff given that I was once committed there last fall,” Crawford said. “I’ve kept a good relationship with coach (Chip) Kelly, coach (Bill) McGovern and coach (Brian) Norwood. They’re a great academic school and the staff has a lot of NFL experience as well."

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According to the 247Sports Composite, Crawford is a three-star prospect and the No. 44 cornerback in the nation, while also being the No. 26 player in California and No. 2 uncommitted corner in the state. Rivals also lists Crawford as a three-star, but ESPN and 247Sports have the Southern California product rated as a four-star.

The Bruins are still on the hunt for four other defensive back options in the class of 2023. Caleb Presley, Rodrick Pleasant, Warren Smith and Jamison Patton have all received scholarship offers from UCLA and are uncommitted, with Patton even taking a visit to Westwood earlier in May.

Devin Kirkwood will be the undisputed No. 1 corner in the Bruins’ defensive backfield come 2023, with Mo Osling III and Azizi Hearn both entering their final year of eligibility. John Humphrey will be in the rotation as well, as will recent Oregon transfer Jaylin Davies, but there is not projected to be much depth in the long run.

UCLA has just one defensive recruit in the class of 2023 – three-star linebacker/safety hybrid Ty Lee – but will also hear back from four-star linebacker Tre Edwards on Friday.

Finishing up his interview with 247Sports, Crawford said he does not have an exact timeline on when he'll make his final decision, but that he plans to graduate early and sign a National Letter of Intent in December regardless of where he goes.

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