Utah Utes gymnastics: Red Rocks, Georgia, Oklahoma, LSU, Alabama only programs with multiple top-18 commits in 2023


A glance at a list of the top gymnastics recruits for 2023 and the schools that they have committed to engenders little surprise.

Oklahoma, Alabama, Utah, Georgia, Cal, Denver, Auburn and LSU all have some of the highest rated recruits committed to their programs, per College Gym News’ updated recruiting rankings.

(Florida had one too, but Olympic hopeful Skye Blakely recently deferred here enrollment until 2024).

All of those schools at some point in the last few years have competed at the highest level of college gymnastics — at the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships — so it is no surprise that many of the best gymnasts in the country have been drawn to them.

Only five schools, just 8% of all Division I programs, have multiple top-18 commits for 2023, though.

That would be Utah, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma and Alabama.

Georgia currently has commitments from Lily Smith and Holly Snyder, the No. 2 and No. 7-rated recruits, while Hannah Scheible (No. 3) and Caitlin Smith (No. 9) have pledged to join the reigning national champion Oklahoma Sooners.

LSU has commitments from Kylie Coen (No. 5) and Konnor McClain (No. 14), while Jamison Sears (No. 1) and Chloe LaCoursiere (No. 16) have pledged to Alabama.

Elizabeth Gantner (No. 4) and Ella Zirbes (No. 17), meanwhile, have both committed to Utah.

In total, College Gym News lists 24 5-star recruits in 2023, and the only other programs to have multiple 5-star commits are a pair of Pac-12 schools — Cal and Stanford.

Three 5-star recruits remain uncommitted as well — British Olympian Jennifer Gadirova and Canadians Clara Raposo and Ava Stewart.

With Gantner and Zirbes, as well as Olivia Kennedy, a Georgia Elite who committed to Utah in November 2021, the Red Rocks are in line for their best recruiting class since 2021 (national signing day for the 2023 class is later this year, on Nov .9).

That class included Olympians Grace McCallum, Amelie Morgan and Kara Eaker, as well as Level 10 standout Sage Thompson, gymnasts who helped Utah to its second consecutive third-place finish in 2022.

Utah’s most recent class, featuring Makenna Smith and Sarah Krump, was rated No. 24 overall in 2022.

With Zirbes, an elite gymnast from Stillwater, Minnesota, and Gantner, a Level 10 gymnast from Indianapolis, Utah continues its established recruiting philosophy as well.

As explained to the Deseret News, head coach Tom Farden and company — including recently named associate head coach Carly Dockendorf — try to maintain a 50-50 balance of former elite and Level 10 gymnasts in the program.

With 21 of the 24 routines back from last season, as well as Michigan transfer Abby Brenner in the fold, Utah is primed to be as good as ever next season.

And if the caliber of recruits the Red Rocks are getting are any indication, that won’t change any time soon.

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