WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Lakota West junior safety Malik Hartford has committed to play in the 2023 All-American Bowl, according to Lakota West football coach Tom Bolden.
Hartford, a four-star recruit and Ohio's No. 2 ranked player in the 2023 class by 247 Sports, is the first reported Greater Cincinnati high school football player to commit to the prestigious all-star game in the 2023 class.
The 2023 All-American Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2023 in San Antonio. Hartford was invited to the all-star game last week and is the only Ohio player to have committed to the 2023 game as of Tuesday morning, according to the game organizers.
"He's a very physical player who covers an insane amount of ground in a short period of time," Bolden said. "His IQ matches his ability. He makes coverage checks and takes great pride on being a difference-maker on special teams."
Hartford, a Division I second team all-district selection in 2021, was a first team all-Greater Miami Conference selection.
He's had several significant scholarship offers including the University of Cincinnati, Ohio State, Iowa State, West Virginia, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Duke, Boston College, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Tennessee and several other programs, according to 247 Sports and WCPO.
Hartford, listed at 6 feet 2 1/2 and 180 pounds, had 58 tackles (38 solo), two interceptions and recorded one sack this past season, according to the GMC statistics. He also played special teams and on offense for the Firebirds (11-2), a Division I regional finalist.
Lakota West, which had 16 seniors this past season, had three players accept invitations to participate in the 2022 All-American Bowl in January including cornerback Jyaire Brown (Ohio State early enrollee), offensive tackle Tegra Tshabola (Ohio State) and defensive back Alex Afari (Kentucky).
Lakota West is scheduled to open the 2022 season against visiting St. Xavier in August.