After 12 scholarship players left the Michigan State football program in the month following the end of the regular season, emigration from East Lansing was curbed.
But a new name appeared in the NCAA's transfer portal on Wednesday: linebacker Ma'a Gaoteote, the top-ranked recruiter in the Spartans' recruiting class in 2021.
MORE MSU:Mel Tucker on recruitment, transfers and the bright future of the Spartans
MSU coach Mel Tucker made a big splash in December 2020 when he persuaded Gaoteote to drop his engagement with USC and sign with the Spartans.
As the lone four-star prospect among Tucker's first-party recruits - a group the coach jokingly referred to as his "Zoom babies" - the Las Vegas product was expected to have an immediate effect. But he contributed with just seven tackles as a rookie, while playing 100 snaps on defense and specialty teams in eight games.
The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Gaoteote's future in East Lansing was clouded when the Spartans added a pair of transfer linebackers, UNLV's Jacoby Windmon and Mississippi State's Aaron Brule, last month.
Gaoteote is the 17th scholarship player on Michigan State's list to enter the portal since September.
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