INDIANAPOLIS (WCMH) — USC transfer linebacker Palaie Gaoteote is paying his own way at Ohio State as he awaits an eligibility ruling from the NCAA, according to OSU head coach Ryan Day at Big Ten Media Days on Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Gaoteote, who spent two seasons with the Trojans, appeared on OSU’s student directory back in June after entering the transfer portal in December 2020. He played in 20 games, started 14 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 24/7 Sports.

Ohio State can use the help at linebacker after losing Pete Werner, Justin Hilliard, Baron Browning, and Tuf Borland. Werner (Saints) and Browning (Broncos) were both drafted while Borland (Vikings) and Hilliard (49ers) were signed as unrestricted free agents.

Teradja Mitchell and Dallas Gant will anchor OSU’s linebacker corps while K’Vaughan Pope will get a chance to show what he can do in his fourth season as a Buckeye.