Four-star Malik Hartford stays in-state, picks Ohio State


One of the nation’s top ATH recruits, Malik Hartford, will be staying home and playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes. The West Chester (OH) Lakota West standout named a final seven of Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Kentucky and West Virginia in February prior giving his pledge to the Buckeyes today.

Hartford is currently listed as an ATH by Rivals, but will be playing Safety for the Buckeyes. He is also a standout on special teams.


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Hartford on why he chose Ohio State and why he made the choice now.

“I chose Ohio State because I love their program as a whole, and me and coach Eliano are tight. I know I will fit well in their scheme. I chose to do it now because I just knew I wanted to be a Buckeye.”

On how they plan on utilizing him within the defense.

“They see me fitting at any of the safety positions. They see my length, and versatility, and think I can fit anywhere.”

On how his relationship with coach Perry Eliano impacted his decision. Eliano was the first to offer Hartford when he was coaching at Cincinnati.

“Knowing coach Eliano definitely made me more comfortable.”

Hartford on what he is looking forward to most when it comes to his future at Ohio State.

“I’m looking forward to competing against all the talent out there, and learning from the very best. I want to get the full Buckeye experience.”

Hartford’s message to the Ohio State fans.

“My message to Ohio State fans. We will win a National Championship while I’m there.”


Hartford becomes commitment No. 6 for Ohio State and a great addition to a class that is already ranked eighth and will likely move up in the rankings after his pledge. He also becomes the the fifth four-star commit in Ohio State’s 2023 class.

Hartford is the type of player that gets you excited when you turn on the film. He is a jack of all trades and plays like his hair is on fire. He has one speed and that is 100% at all times. Hartford is long and athletic, but will need to add some mass to his frame in a college weight program. His physicality, instincts and big play ability are just a few of Hartford’s greatest attributes. He comes with bad intentions on every play.

This is a big one for the Buckeyes as Hartford’s recruitment blew up, yet they were able to keep one of the state’s finest players at home in the end.

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