Ohio State appears to be on the verge of adding a former five-star prospect through the transfer portal as former USC linebacker Palaie Gaoteote’s name now appears in the university’s student directory.
As first reported by Buckeye Scoop, the 6-foot-2 and 250-pound Gaoteote is listed as an active student majoring in human development and family science ahead of the six-week summer session that begins on June 22. He has not announced his transfer destination at this point in time but seemingly acknowledged the news in an Instagram story with the caption, “caught in 4k.”
Gaoteote, who is the cousin and former high school teammate of Ohio State fifth-year senior defensive tackle Haskell Garrett, was one of the Buckeyes’ top targets in the 2018 recruiting class. He notably took an unofficial visit to Columbus during his junior season at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman before eventually committing to the Trojans.
Gaoteote recorded 105 tackles, 7.5 tackles and two sacks in three years at USC but dealt with a number of injuries that limited his playing time to 20 games, including 14 starts. He entered his name into the transfer portal in early December.
A senior with two years of eligibility remaining, Gaoteote would bring some much-needed depth to Ohio State’s linebacker unit, which saw all three starters in Tuf Borland, Pete Werner and Baron Browning and another key contributor in Justin Hilliard depart for the NFL after last season. He would presumably compete for playing time alongside Dallas Gant and Teradja Mitchell this fall.
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