On Saturday, the Ohio State Buckeyes received word that Palaie Gaoteote’s transfer was approved, ruling him eligible to play immediately. As a result of the ruling, Palaie Gaoteote is almost certain to see his 2022 NFL draft stock soar. Buckeyeshead coach Ryan Day originally reported that Gaoteote’s transfer was denied, although there was reportedly some confusion on the ruling.
Last summer, we profiled Palaie Gaoteote here.
Palaie Gaoteote's petition to the NCAA has now been approved and he is eligible to play for Ohio State.
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 10, 2021
With his eligibility ruling out of the way, it’s time to look at how Palaie Gaoteote will contribute on the field for the Buckeyes. Naturally, it’s best to look at Gaoteote’s time at Southern Cal. Below, I’ve embedded a tweet from Damian Parson. He does a great job of highlighting Gaoteote’s strengths at linebacker.
USC LB Palaie Gaoteote IV
Surprisingly a good athlete for a 250-pound backer. He reads the pulling guard & tracks the ball carrier for the run fit.
He meets the RB in the lane & delivers a physical blow. Interested to watch more of his tape. Intriguing LB prospect. pic.twitter.com/uJqCdQe5uk
— Damian Parson 🏈 (@DP_NFL) December 26, 2020
Buckeyes Defense Will Elevate The Draft Stock Of Palaie Gaoteote
Earlier, we linked our profile on Palaie Gaoteote from last summer. In that article, we listed the injuries that Gaoteote suffered for the Trojans. Regardless, the key for him will be proving his durability. Aside from that, Gaoteote is going to bring leadership to a young linebacking corp. Furthermore, Gaoteote’s abilities fit really well with Ohio State. The Buckeyes had trouble stopping the Oregon offense, a game in which they lost to the Ducks 35-28. Palaie Gaoteote’s coverage abilities in space, as well as his ability to stop the run, are key factors that the Buckeyes are missing.
Additionally, Gaoteote’s insertion into the defense should elevate the Buckeye’s pass rush. Zach Harrison, Haskell Garrett, and Tyreke Smith are the big three for Ohio State’s front seven. If the Ohio State Buckeyes want to get back into consideration for the College Football Playoff, they’ll need Palaie Gaoteote to play at a high-level.