Ohio State: Linebacker Palaie Gaoteote granted eligibility, available immediately

Sports

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State linebacker Palaie Gaoteote’s eligibility has been granted by the NCAA and he will be available immediately, an Ohio State spokesperson confirmed to NBC4.

Ryan Day said Gaoteote was denied eligibility by the NCAA on Thursday but Ohio State said it would continue to work on his petition.

Gaoteote transferred from USC to Ohio State this summer and paid his own way at Ohio State while awaiting an eligibility ruling from the NCAA.

Gaoteote, who spent two seasons with Southern California, appeared on Ohio State’s student directory in June after entering the transfer portal in December. He played in 20 games, including 14 starts, and recorded 105 tackles in three years at USC but only played two games during the 2020 season.

The Las Vegas native is the cousin and former high school teammate of fifth-year senior defensive tackle Haskell Garrett, who was named a preseason All-American by Sporting News.

Gaoteote was the 15th-best player in the country in the class of 2018 and the top-ranked inside linebacker, according to 247Sports.

Linebacker is a position where Ohio State can use all the help it can get after losing Pete Werner, Justin Hilliard, Baron Browning, and Tuf Borland to the NFL.

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