2021 Four-star linebacker Ma’a Gaoteote withdraws name from transfer portal


MSU linebacker Ma’a Gaoteote (10) makes a special teams tackle during the Spartans’ 30-27 win over Penn State on Nov. 27, 2021/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Manit Patel, General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING, Mich—Michigan State’s defense bolstered its linebacking corps today when freshman linebacker Ma’a Gaoteote withdrew his name from the NCAA transfer portal. Gaoteote originally entered his name in the transfer portal on Jan. 19 before withdrawing from it on Tuesday afternoon.

Gaoteote, the Spartans’ only four-star recruit in the 2021 class, was the No. 161 ranked recruit in the nation, according to 247Sports. He was also ranked as No. 20 linebacker in the class while being ranked the No. 2 player from the state of Nevada. 

Gaoteote played his high school ball at three different schools. He played his freshman and sophomore years at Faith Lutheran (Las Vegas) recording 131 tackles, eight tackles for loss and four sacks.

MSU freshman linebacker Ma’a Gaoteote during 2021 fall practice/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

He also played for St. John Bosco (Bellflower, California) his junior year before returning to Las Vegas and playing for Bishop Gorman his senior year. During his time at St. John Bosco, he was the teammate of current MSU four-star quarterback Katin Houser.

In addition to Michigan State, Gaoteote received numerous other Power Five conference offers from the likes of USC, Kansas State, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Ole Miss, Washington and Nebraska.

During his freshman season at MSU, he appeared in nine games while registering seven tackles to go along with a forced fumble. In total, he appeared in 65 snaps on defense and 46 on special teams.

Gaoteote will provide depth to a linebacker room that is set to return freshman All-American Cal Haladay and senior Ben VanSumeren. The Spartans also received transfer commitments from linebackers Jacoby Windmon (UNLV) and Aaron Brule (Mississippi State).