Ohio State coach Ryan Day is still hopeful that USC transfer linebacker Palaie Gaoteote will be eligible for the Buckeyes this fall.

The former 5-star has been dealing with eligibility issues following his transfer from Southern Cal. Earlier this offseason, Day said that Gaoteote is not yet on scholarship and has been paying his own way.

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On Monday morning, Day told reporters he was “optimistic” that Gaoteote would receive a waiver to allow him to play this season.

If Gaoteote is eligible, he would be a big help for the Buckeyes, who are trying to replace multiple linebackers from last year’s team. Ohio State’s two leading tacklers from last season, Pete Werner and Tuf Borland, have moved on from the program.

Gaoteote played in just two games last year, but accumulated 7.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and 96 total tackles during his first two years with the Trojans.

Ohio State opens its 2021 season against Minnesota on Sept. 2.