Early signing period was first introduced this season to NCAA football programs and USC benefited from this new period.
USC added 10 players to their recruiting class during the early signing period this season. Palaie Gaoteote IV is one of those players and is looking to make an impact early on this USC football team.
Gaoteote hails from Las Vegas, Nevada and played for one of the nation's top high school programs, Bishop Gorman High School. According to 247sports, Gaoteote is one of the most touted prospects in the country. Gaoteote is a 5-star inside linebacker rated as the 15th best overall recruit in the country and the best inside linebacker recruit in the country according to 247.
Gaoteote backed those high rankings with his stellar play on the field. During his senior year, Gaoteote accumulated 72 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks on the season on the way to being named a U.S. Army All-American. Through his three years as a starter he tallied up 232 tackles, 41.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks.
With both Cam Smith and Porter Gustin returning for the Trojans next season, it might be hard for Gaoteote to find significant time right off the bat. However, with the departure of Uchenna Nwosu, some linebacking spots are open and while Gaoteote plays the inside position, there is a shot that a player like Smith moves to the outside opening up space for the young player. Whether or not Gaoteote plays a lot this season, he will absolutely be a force to be reckoned with in the near future and a name all Trojan fans will want to know.