By USA TODAY High School Sports | July 7, 2017 12:49 pm ET
When you are among the top 10 football recruits in the nation and play for the three-time defending Super 25 champions, it’s hard to fly a bit under the radar.
But Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) linebacker Palaie Gaoteote IV says he doesn’t feel left out. He expected less attention after announcing his commitment in February to USC.
“No, not at all,” he told USA TODAY High School Sports on the subject of being overlooked. “When I committed, I knew the attention was going to slow down and the interviews were going to stop. Everything was basically going to shut down on itself, and truthfully that’s what I wanted. I wanted to find the best fit school for me and shut down my recruiting process.”
Gaoteote, an Army All-American, is ranked as the No. 1 inside linenbacker, No. 1 player in Nevada and No. 7 overall by the 247Sports Composite.
He says he remains 100 percent committed to USC and was actively recruiting for the Trojans at The Opening Final in Oregon. He says he plans to take a few visits in part to help jumpstart the recruiting process and build some bridges for his younger brother.
Amid social media chatter about his status, Gaoteote tweeted this Wednesday night.
— PG IV (@PalaieGaoteote) July 7, 2017
Gaoteote termed The Opening as “the best experience that I’ve had football related.”
“For me, it was just a great overall whether it was kicking it in the lounge with my teammates and newfound brothers or playing football,” he said. “Everything that we did at The opening was awesome and is an experience that I feel like everyone should have at all levels — high school, college and the proI. It would be dope to have an Opening-type event at every level of football.”
Gaoteote said he used his time at The Opening as “a measuring stick for me personally to see where I line up amongs the top ballplayers.
“I feel like I did well, but I also got to tweak and fine-tune a lot of things for the upcoming season.”
Gorman enters the season on a 54-game winning streak and having won eight consecutive state championships. The Gaels again face a tough schedule, beginning with a nationally televised game against DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) and a Week 2 showdown against Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.).
Gorman is attempting to become only the second school to win four consecutive Super 25 title. De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) won four in a row in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003.
Gaoteote is considered the leader of the defense with UCLA quarterback commit Dorian Thompson-Robinson taking over as the leader on offense following Tate Martell’s departure for Ohio State.
“The main focus is just playing Bishop Gorman football, and that’s being a tough, physical, smart football team that lives on its individual techniques,” Gaoteote said. “If we can do that and find our mold as a team this season, it won’t matter who steps out in front of us.”