It appears that former USC linebacker Palaie Gaoteote is transferring from the Trojans to OSU. Ohio State has not confirmed the move, but Gaoteote’s name appears in the University’s online registration.

Way back when, Gaoteote was a 5-star prospect looking heavily at joining the Buckeyes out of high school. He was the No. 1 inside linebacker in the 2018 class and the No. 15 player overall. He played at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas along with current Buckeye defensive tackle Haskell Garrett.

Injuries have upended the first three years of Gaoteote’s career. He played in 10 games as a true freshman in 2018, starting five, finishing with 38 tackles and two sacks. He missed the first two games that season while recovering from preseason knee cartilage surgery.

As a sophomore, he only played in eight games, but totaled 58 tackles and 3.0 tackles for loss. Gaoteote sprained his ankle against Notre Dame, missing the next two games. He later reaggravated the injury and missed three more games.

As a junior last season, he only played in the Trojans’ first two games. He suffered a concussion in the second game and missed the next two before entering the transfer portal prior to the game against UCLA.

While Ohio State was pursuing Tennessee transfer linebacker Henry To’o To’o, it looked like Gaoteote was headed to Texas. With To’o To’o off to Alabama, efforts seemed to have been doubled up on Gaoteote.

The Buckeyes are losing four linebackers to the NFL, which makes the addition of a veteran with two years of eligibility remaining a solid move. Whether he can stay healthy or not remains to be seen, but after watching the way former Buckeye Justin Hilliard overcame injuries in his career, never say never.

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