After making his debut in Saturday’s loss to Oregon, Ohio State senior linebacker Palaie Gaoteote became an official member of the Buckeyes’ football program after he shed his black stripe following Tuesday evening’s practice.
The 6-foot-2 and 248-pound Gaoteote, a former five-star prospect from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, transferred to Ohio State this summer and had been practicing with the team while awaiting word from the NCAA on his request for immediate eligibility.
“This guy came in the summer and didn’t really know his fate, but worked for a game he didn’t know if he could play,” assistant strength and conditioning coach Chris Fenelon said.
After a lengthy wait, which including head coach Ryan Day saying his request was denied on Thursday, Gaoteote – whose name is pronounced PAH-lah-ee-aye NAH-oh-tay-oh-tay – was finally ruled eligible on Friday and played four snaps in the loss to the Ducks.
“I just want to thank y’all for accepting me into the brotherhood,” Gaoteote said. “Shoutout H2, Coach (Al) Washington) for pushing me every day. Love you guys like my own brothers. Go Bucks!”
Gaoteote becomes the 11th player to shed his stripe since the start of fall camp, joining cornerback Denzel Burke on Aug. 7, quarterback Kyle McCord on Aug. 12, punter Jesse Mirco on Aug. 13, defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau and running back Evan Pryor on Aug. 14, offensive lineman Donovan Jackson, cornerback Jordan Hancock and safety Jantzen Dunn on Aug. 20, kicker Noah Ruggles and wide receiver Jayden Ballard on Sept. 7 and defensive tackle Tyleik Williams on Sept. 14.
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