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Transfer Portal Prospect: Palaie Gaoteote

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A former 5-star recruit, should the Canes go after Gaoteote from USC?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 20 Utah at USC Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Another big name player entered the transfer portal this week in college football, linebacker Palaie Gaoteote from USC.

Coming out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Gaoteote was rated by 247 Sports as a 5-star recruit, the #1 inside linebacker #15 overall player in the 2018 class.

Something that may help Miami in this process, Gaoteote was high school teammates with Bubba Bolden and Brevin Jordan. So as you could guess, as soon as news broke that Gaoteote was entering the transfer portal, Jordan and Bolden began recruiting him to Miami on social media, much to the delight of Canes fans.

As a freshman, Gaoteote played very well for the Trojans, registering 38 tackles, 4.5 TFLs and 2 sacks. Injuries limited him in 2019, and this season, Gaoteote played in USC’s first two games, but was forced to the miss the two games since, as he was in concussion protocol.

When you watch him on film, Gaoteote instantly jumps out at you. For a player that’s around 6-2 and 250 pounds, Gaoteote carries his size very well, and can shoot gaps exceptionally. The fact that he can move that well, with his size, should be eye-opening to Canes fans, as we’ve seen bigger linebackers in the past several years not be able to have both those qualities.

When tackling, Gaoteote is very reliable, and will thump the ball-carrier when he has the chance, not shying away from contact whatsoever. His explosion and closing speed make him a force when defending the run or rushing the quarterback.

He does struggle in pass coverage, so that’s an area of his game that needs improvement, but overall, I really like him as an inside linebacker. His injuries are also a concern, but Jaelan Phillips had injury problems when he came from UCLA, and was able to work through those, so I have confidence in Miami’s medical staff getting Gaoteote right.

Gaoteote would also help the Canes depth at linebacker immensely. Zach McCloud will mostly likely not return in 2021, and while you’ll have Bradley Jennings Jr., Sam Brooks Jr., Corey Flagg Jr and others for next season, having a talent like Gaoteote will do wonders for Miami. Gaoteote could very well, if he came to Miami, line up as one of the starting linebackers for the Hurricanes next fall.

If you're asking me, I'd say bring Gaoteote to Miami. UM has had success with the majority of players they’ve brought in from the transfer portal, especially players from Bishop Gorman, and I think Gaoteote would be another success. Bringing in a talented player like this, will give Miami another advantage on defense, and further help in accomplishing their goals for the future.