It’s NLI day!
NLI = National Letter of Intent
The National Letter of Intent is a document signed by future college athletes confirming their intent to attend and compete for a particular school. Signing the NLI signals the end of the recruiting process—i.e., all other schools must immediately cease recruiting that gymnast. The NLI is accompanied by the athletic aid (scholarship) agreement. Gymnasts can’t sign NLIs if they are not receiving athletic aid.
Wednesday marks the beginning of this year’s signing period, during which schools will finally reveal to us which gymnasts have signed on to join their programs for the 2022 competitive season. The large majority will be unsurprising since most of these gymnasts have been verbally committed to these schools since the womb, but there are always a few pieces of interest (usually regarding who doesn’t sign rather than who does).
So, let’s see what we see. If nothing else, this year will be a little different because typically these signing athletes would be tasked with replacing the routines contributed by seniors during the 2021 season, but with everyone being granted an extra year, that’s not necessarily the case this time. There will be more adding, without as much subtracting (potentially).
Many of the US Olympic hopefuls are planning to start college in the 2022 competitive season, but since a number of them have already signed with their schools during a previous period then deferred to pursue the Olympics, they won’t show up in these announcements. But, we are expecting to hear about McCallum, Eaker, Bowers, Suni Lee, Emily Lee, Aleah Finnegan, and Sloane Blakely among others in this week’s announcements.
NOTE: Many teams announce their classes one-by-one on social media, so if you’re desperate to know who has been signed by a particular school, keep an eye on that. I’ll note them here once the schools post their official press release for (at least what appears to be) the whole class.
|Danae Fletcher is slated to join for the 2021 season. Because Oklahoma’s freshman class wasn’t big enough. It’s been a long while since we’ve heard from Jordan Bowers (she did compete a second of L10 at a new gym in 2020), who headlines this class. Danielle Sievers is the younger sister of Iowa State’s Meaghan Sievers.|
|Florida had previously signed Morgan Hurd and Riley McCusker to this class (just those nobodies), but added Sloane Blakely to the cool kids club today to make it an elite trio. As far as I can tell, we’re still waiting to hear about Shilese Jones, who has long been committed to Florida but wasn’t announced as part of last year’s signing class either. In Release Part 2: You Have to Wait Until Saturday edition, Florida also announced Leanne Wong as part of the group that will start in 2022 with Hurd, McCusker, and Blakely.|
|Jordan Chiles, Emma Malabuyo, Ana Padurariu, and Brooklyn Moors are also slated to start in 2022 after deferring 2021, joining these two signees. So it’s a class.|
|This is obviously a damn important class for Utah, with two of the most talented recruits and famous elites of the year both signing. This is a 90s Utah signing class. This is a “we’re trying to compete for titles again” signing class. (Per verbals, there were supposed to be a couple other L10s as part of this class, so we’ll see if that happens later and Utah was just too excited about Eaker and McCallum and was like, “EEEEE ANNOUNCE NOWWWWW” or if there are some changes to the class.)|
|Vides is the name you’ll recognize from her senior elite sojourn. WOGA’s Deiah-Marie Moody had also verbally committed as part of this class but is not among the announced newcomers.|
|Three elites to LSU, headlined by Aleah Finnegan, and we’re all very shocked she’s going to LSU. Never would have picked it. It was a bit surprising to see Tatum drop back to L10 after a really successful junior elite year in 2018, but that’s pretty much exactly what you want in a college recruit, someone with the elite skill set who isn’t totally beaten down by the elite process. Or, I mean, US elite is a dream…|
|Bunagan was a US elite for a second, who went on to represent the Philippines at worlds in 2018.|
|Madelyn Williams is the star in this group, who shined in her short time as an elite. We were expecting British elite Amelie Morgan to be part of this signing class as well, but things sometimes happen later with non-US athletes.|
|(Katie Finnegan was also supposed to be part of this signing class but is joining early for the 2021 season.)|
Grace Anne Davis
|Jade Carey will also be starting her competitive college career as part of this class, but she currently appears on the roster because she has started academically at OSU.|
|Waiting on the full announcement, but we do have Sunisa Lee confirmed for Graba Part Deux.|
|Why did no one tell me that Elina Vihrova was coming to Penn State? I blame all of you individually.|
|KENT STATE||Release||Brynne Tsipis
|SAN JOSE STATE