by Garry Paskwietz
The Trojans knew it was going to be a big recruiting weekend with several prospects stopping by campus while in town for various camps and 7-on-7 tournaments, but things got turned up a notch on Sunday afternoon with the announcement from Palaie Gaoteote (the consensus #1-ranked OLB by all four recruiting services) that he was committing to USC.
As far as recruiting commitments go in the middle of February, this one is about as good as it gets. Gaoteote (6-2, 220) is ranked at the top of a very good linebacker group for a reason, and that’s because he plays with a unique combination of high energy and aggressiveness. In fact, it’s easy to see a comparison to Junior Seau when watching the Hudl highlights for Gaoteote, and that’s not a comparison we make lightly.
In the last two seasons, Bishop Gorman has gone 30-0, while Gaoteote has played in 25 of those games with a total of 160 tackles and 25 tackles for loss.
Gaoteote chose USC over Ohio State, among many others, and one of the bigger surprises about the verbal is that it happened so quickly. The Trojans were hoping to load up at linebacker in this class considering it is such a good group on the west coast and the addition of Gaoteote (along with previous verbals from Raymond Scott and Bo Calvert) is certainly welcome news for Clay Helton and staff. USC now has 6 verbal commits for the Class of 2018.