BOOM! Four-Star Ohio Safety Malik Hartford Commits to Ohio State!

Ohio State officially added its sixth commitment to the 2023 class when Malik Hartford made it official today. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Safety is a top-100 player nationally, and was considered to be a “can’t miss” target for the Buckeyes in the 2023 cycle. Hartford is also ranked as the second highest recruit in the state of Ohio.

Coming off the heels of a 2022 class that saw the Buckeyes land the top safety in the country in Ohio’s own Sonny Styles, the Buckeyes were keen on making sure they load up from the back end out. New Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles DB-heavy defense requires a lot of athletic safety play and addition of Hartford is going to be vital to not only the future success of the defense, but to ensuring Ohio State can continue to build around in state recruits. 

Hartford held 25 offers nationally, before pledging his services to the Scarlet and Gray via Twitter. The Buckeyes were always thought to be the leaders for the Cincinnati, Ohio product. With the departure of former OSU DC Kerry Coombs (who ultimately ended up at Cincinnati on Luke FIckell’s staff), there was some concern that could change things for Hartford. Luckily Ryan Day was able to fight that transition period. Day and staff were able to hold off a late surge from Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide as Alabama tried to make a push for the coveted safety prospect. Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State were also thought to be some dark horses in this recruitment, but generally were never able to get ahead of Cincinnati or Alabama. 

This comes as a major win for the program as Day has continuously mentioned that in state recruiting will always be prioritized and that keeping “The best in Ohio,” will continue to be a focal point of this staff.