WVU Football Recruiting: Mountaineers make Malik Hartford’s short list

February 11th, 2023 ATH Malik Hartford unveiled his final seven schools that he will be entertaining offers for. Those schools, with no order listed, are the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, the Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, Notre Dame University, University of Kentucky, and West Virginia University.

Who is Malik Hartford?

Malik Hartford is an outstanding prospect from West Chester, Ohio. He is currently rated as a four-star in the 2023 class, with 23 schools having offered him before he trimmed the list to the seven. According to 247 Sports Composite, he is rated as the 216th best prospect in the country, 18th best athlete, and 4th best player in the state of Ohio.

In terms of measurables, he is 6’3″, 175 pounds. He could afford to bulk up a bit to be an impact player for his school of choice. Hartford is listed as both a Safety and Wide Receiver, and according to his Hudl account, he clocks in with a 4.5 40, making safety his more ideal position.

Having a 6’3”, lurking safety would be a huge pickup for the Mountaineers.

Hartford is unafraid of contact and demonstrates such in his Hudl highlights. His first clip shows him making a “hit stick” tackle on a quarterback. Additionally, he is a special teams standout for Lakota West High School.

His closing speed and pursuit angles stand out on film. He has a high motor and takes advantage of his 6’3” frame.

Landing a recruit of Hartford’s caliber would be a huge addition to the 2023 class for head coach Neal Brown and the Mountaineers. The fact that West Virginia is still in consideration for this outstanding prospect speaks to the lengths the Mountaineer staff is willing to go to compete in the Big 12. Getting victories like this will be crucial for Brown’s future as the Mountaineer head coach.

West Virginia is the only current Big 12 school to be in the Hartford sweepstakes.

Best Case

The best-case scenario is that Hartford lands with West Virginia and becomes a terror for opposing teams. He would be the highest rated prospect to commit to the team as of this writing, and have the highest composite score of the 2022 and 2023 classes.

Worst Case

The worst-case scenario would be Hartford staying in state and attending the University of Cincinnati. Not only will the Mountaineers lose out on a star prospect, but they likely will have to face off against Hartford once per season upon the Bearcats’ move to the Big 12.