It’s NLI day! (Not to be confused with NIL—Name, Image, and Likeness—because everything is so helpful and good.)
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 2023 competitive season (and some for the upcoming 2022 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.
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.
Kaylen Morgan competed as a senior elite this year, finishing 21st at nationals and a little more than a point out of the Olympic Trials places. We were also allegedly supposed to see a couple more signings in this class, including Lily Clapper (sister of Leah Clapper), but nothing on that front.
Oklahoma is one of the few top teams that actually lost quite a few important routines from the 2021 season and started to fall behind in the "ELITES ARE MIIIIINE" race to Florida, UCLA, and Utah in terms of the 2022 newcomers. With two of the best elite-to-NCAA gymnasts in this class, Oklahoma is restocking well.
After a couple classes of loading up on elites, Utah has a small class with one L10 star for the 2023 season. Expect small-ish classes to be the norm this year for a bunch of teams as they have to start paring down from the super-sized rosters of 2022.
It's another huge get for Florida on a roster that's alreay full of them, signing the top elite in this entire class in DiCello. Although, much of the interest comes in who is not in this release, at least thus far. Sophia Butler and JaFree Scott had also verbaled to be part of this class—and another signing period has gone by with no mention of Shilese Jones.
This is Alabama's largest and most recognizable class in a good long while, with German who nearly advanced to trials, Little who has been an elite for 915 years, and Gravier who was an MG Elite refugee who ended up at First State to do L10.
Some big names in this LSU class, with Lippeatt as one of the more recognizable elites of this year's class along with Beard, who competed as a Texas Dreams elite for a while. Wilson joins them as one of the top L10 vaulting recruits of the year.
Frazier is the name of the group and will be a major addition as Cal becomes more accustomed to recruiting top athletes now given the last couple classes. This class was also supposed to include British elite Ondine Achampong, so keep an eye on whether she signs at a later date or not.
Moraw was just a Senior A last spring when she won the title at L10s. At the same competition, Rowray had strong finishes on BB/FX as did Johnson on VT.
Sister alert in this class with the younger sisters of Isabel Mabanta and Aria Brusch signing.
UCLA has tweeted about these two—the two who had already verbaled—both of whom should be major contributors. Harris is one of the best options from the junior-elite-to-NCAA-star pipeline in this class. But they've delayed on putting out a comprehensive release, leaving the door open for the announcement of some secret international elite we didn't know about, or something. Or, they're just being all UCLA about it and the official release will come when Fran gets around to it.
Ariel Posen is another MG Elite refugee landing in college in this class.
Both of Kho's sisters are on the Southern Utah team.
Piedrahita is a Hill's gymnast who finished 2nd AA at L10 nationals this year.
Bacskay will be very familiar to viewers of Challenge Cup events, opening the Hungarian pipeline to college gymnastics.
SAN JOSE STATE
It's a very strong class of L10s for Stanford this year. Dean was a junior elite in 2018, and returned to L10 in 2019 to place 2nd AA at 2019 L10s, while Roberts won the L10 AA title in her age group in 2021. Two UB/BBers and two VT/FXers in this class.
WILLIAM & MARY