Even though recruiting rules have changed in recent years to push back on early commitments of future NCAA student-athletes, it’s more common than not that most gymnasts have verballt committed to a program by the end of their junior year of high school. With that, by midsummer two classes of recruits are committed to their future homes, and coaches and analysts alike can start forecasting lineups and championship rosters.
Knowing who is heading into each program over the next two seasons and who is expected to depart, we decided to look way into the future to predict the 2025 season. While there are still unknowns—like which 2024 seniors will take a COVID year and which 2024 recruits will have stellar final seasons—there’s enough information about each roster to glimpse which direction the top programs are heading. Much stays the same, like Oklahoma’s dynasty and SEC supremacy, but the Big Ten is set for a shakeup. Plus, we see some fresh faces start to push toward the top 20.
An easy favorite to three-peat as NCAA champions in 2024, it’s hard to imagine any team stopping the Sooners’ reign anytime soon. The biggest adjustment between now and 2025 for them will be competing for SEC crowns instead of Big 12 titles. All six gymnasts in their next two recruiting classes are at least four-star rated, and KJ Kindler even successfully dipped into the transfer portal to nab former Georgia floor star Soraya Hawthorne for next season, demonstrating her ability to recruit both talent pools effectively. Plus, there should be scholarship room to bring at least one of Audrey Davis or Katherine LeVasseur back for 2025, stacking the cards even more in Oklahoma’s favor. This may be the safe pick, but it’s where we’d put our money, as the Sooners have earned the prestige to open as favorites.
In 2011, ESPN named then-Georgia head coach Jay Clark the ninth-best recruiter in all of college sports, and if ESPN rewrote that list now, he’d likely be higher. Quickly adapting to both NIL and the transfer portal revelations in the last few years, Clark has been proficient at bringing in big-name recruits and using his resources to fill holes with experience via transfers. His prowess has rubbed off on Garrett Griffeth, the Tigers’ current recruiting coordinator. LSU’s next two incoming classes feature seven four- or five-star recruits, including Konnor McClain, Zoe Miller, Kaliya Lincoln, and Kailin Chio. The Tigers should have a shot at their first title in 2024 with McClain’s recent announcement that she’ll be joining the program this season, and if Haleigh Bryant sticks around for 2025, they’ll have a shot at another.
Expect a slight dip from the Gators in 2024 with the hiatus of Kayla DiCello and the departure of Trinity Thomas, but prepare for a huge rebound as they reload with plenty of talent. Florida’s top-ranked 2024 recruiting class includes a trio of five-star recruits—Shilese Jones, Skye Blakely, and Lily Bruce—to follow up a top-five 2023 class that will keep the Gators plenty relevant. The return of DiCello means their 2025 roster has the composition necessary to make a run at the Sooners, as it’s rich with talent and has an upperclassman core of Leanne Wong and Sloane Blakely to bring the experience needed to finally nab the first title of the Jenny Rowland era.
With half a dozen five-star recruits coming to Salt Lake City over the next two seasons, the Utes should have no problem continuing to threaten for the program’s first title in decades. After the stalwart super senior class departs next season, Utah counters with Avery Neff, the highest-rated recruit ever, who will be a household name about two years from now and can be the complement all-arounder to Grace McCallum that the Utes will need. That is, if other contenders like Makenna Smith, Ella Zirbes, or Elizabeth Gantner don’t step up first. With some projected scholarship room to play with, don’t be surprised if Tom Farden hits the transfer portal hard next year for additional seniority and experience.
The 2025 season could be huge for the Golden Bears, with upperclassmen standouts Mya Lauzon and eMjae Frazier leading a roster full of recruits that should fit well into California’s typical all-arounder heavy lineups. Ondine Achampong, World silver medalist with Great Britain, projects as a future NCAA star and will be the program’s third five-star recruit in two years. A fifth-year from Andi Li could be what this team needs to make a legit championship push and elevate the program to becoming a top-five fixture.
In just her second season at the helm of her alma mater in 2024, Ashley Priess-Johnston will have a roster capable of making a lot of noise. With all the key pieces returning next season and a top-three incoming class, 2024 is the Crimson Tide’s season to make a run for another title. A lot is riding on next year’s freshmen, including 2023’s No. 1 overall recruit Jamison Sears, to be the program’s future, so the 2025 projection rises and falls with how well they adjust next winter. If they can make an impact with the few projected lineup spots available with so many returners, Alabama’s future outlook rises drastically with another studded top-10 recruiting class on the way for 2025.
7. Michigan State
The 2025 season could finally be the year we see some turnover in the Big Ten, as the Spartans will have a roster capable of overtaking their in-state rivals, Michigan, who’s held the title of conference favorite for quite some time. Skyla Schulte, Gabrielle Stephen, and Nikki Smith will be one of the best and most experienced all-around trios in the NCAA and provide the perfect core to build lineups around. Michigan State’s newfound recruiting prowess will aid it, too, as five-star Amy Doyle figures to have the same immediate impact that we saw from each member of the upperclassmen trio when they arrived in East Lansing. Finagling a fifth-year out of Delanie Harkness for 2025 would cement the Spartans’ nationals favorite status.
The Bruins will take a hit in 2024 with two-time NCAA champion Jordan Chiles training in Houston for the Paris Olympics, but her return should see UCLA rise again in 2025 to challenge Michigan State for Big Ten supremacy. While the next two recruiting classes feature just one five-star recruit—Sydney Barros—they have lots of potential, as Barros was one of three 2024 recruits to gain another star this re-rating season. Standouts Selena Harris, Emma Malabuyo, and Ana Padurariu remain the core of the lineups. Still, Chiles being non-commital about her return dings the Bruins a bit as her absence would be staggering.
The Wolverines won’t make it easy on the Spartans in contending for a Big Ten title either, as their third-ranked 2024 recruiting class is deep and features five-star recruits Lucie Kirchner and Sophie Parenti, who could both enter all-around ready. Michigan has to contend with bouts of lineup turnover the next two seasons, so the burden of filling lineups falls on recruits and the potential of current underclassmen we’ve yet to see. But the talent is there, and it’s hard not to trust Bev Plocki’s process. It’s borderline necessary at this point to get a bonus year out of Naomi Morrison or Carly Bauman to boost this roster with the proven leadership and experience to contend for championships.
10. Oregon State
Jade Carey choosing to compete for Oregon State throughout the Olympic year is huge, as it will continue to gain more than it loses over the next two seasons, with a quartet of four-star recruits incoming. One of which, Sophia Esposito, should help lessen the blow of losing Madi Dagen this year, and the addition of Utah transfer Sage Thompson and her perfect 10 career high on the Beavers’ infamous event—bars—also ups their stock. There’s no reason Oregon State shouldn’t continue to contend for a championship appearance while Carey is on campus.
It’s impossible to replace the pair of all-time-Tigers Sunisa Lee and Derrian Gobourne, but their legacy includes a boosted recruiting appeal for the program, as Auburn’s 2023 and 2024 recruiting classes have a pair of four-star U.S. elites—Katelyn Jong and Marissa Neal—as well as a pair of five-star recruits—Julianne Huff and Olivia Ahern. Any of those names could be a breakout star for the Tigers in 2025, along with former five-star recruit Olivia Greaves, who has yet to compete collegiately due to injury. While Auburn won’t be a finals threat like during the Lee days, it should remain in the nationals hunt.
The Wildcats will be aiming for a second-straight trip to NCAA championships next season before the job gets far tougher with the losses of Raena Worley and Arianna Patterson heading into 2025. Five-star recruit Delaynee Rodriguez is next in line to be Kentucky’s next leading all-arounder, as she and the trio of four-star recruits the Wildcats will have added by 2025 will help mitigate the losses. An extra season from Bailey Bunn, Hailey Davis, or Isabella Magnelli would provide this roster with some proven big scores.
Stanford’s return to relevancy that started in 2022 with its postseason run will be nearly complete by 2025, as it should be knocking on the door of the top 10. Its second-ranked 2023 recruiting class will have a year of experience under its belt by then, and the only major contributor the Cardinal will lose in that timeline is Chloe Widner. Between four- or five-star recruits Ui Soma, Sienna Robinson, Sydney Razeghi, and Victoria Cluck, Stanford should be able to mold an ideal counterpart or two to current rising star Anna Roberts.
Much of the Bulldogs’ 2025 outlook rides on how its No. 1 2023 recruiting class performs, as it’s tasked with replacing a hefty amount of routines from the departing seniors. It’s not only a star-studded incoming class—highlighted by No. 3 overall recruit Lily Smith and fellow five-star Holly Snyder—but it’s deep at seven members strong. Georgia will lack some leadership, however, as just Katie Finnegan will have the option for a COVID year, and it will have no seniors on its 2025 roster, meaning the Bulldogs may have to hit the transfer portal hard, as we’ve seen them do in the past. But, if the roster can maintain its health and ability, Georgia can return to being a top-15 team if not shoot even higher.
Recruiting has been good to the Tigers lately, and that trend will continue, as they’re bringing in five recruits rated at least four stars over the next two seasons to counter some expected roster turnover. Keeping Amaya Marshall, Sydney Shaffer, or recent LIU transfer Mara Titarsolej around for a bonus season in 2025 would give Missouri’s prospects a lift. Still, five-star recruit Railey Jackson has it positioned to maintain its status as an SEC spoiler.
Eagerly awaiting the arrival of its top-10 ranked 2024 recruiting class, the Golden Gophers are bringing in a dozen recruits over the next two seasons to offset lots of lost routines. Five-star Canadian elite Ava Stewart headlines that class and is primed to be a factor in the Big Ten immediately while the supporting trio of four-stars will get plenty of lineup experience as rookies, too. A COVID year from Mya Hooten is a must for Minnesota to stay in the Big Ten race and hunt for a regionals seed come 2025.
A bigger exodus of routines for Arkansas will occur this offseason rather than next, meaning 2024 will be about surviving until highly touted U.S. elite Joscelyn Roberson gets to Fayetteville in 2025. The Razorbacks are adding two additional four-star recruits alongside Roberson over the next two summers, which is enough to maintain the program’s current status at least. A dynamic year from either of them—Grace Drexler or Priscilla Park—is needed to improve Arkansas’ forecast.
18. Ohio State
The Buckeyes may have the most roster turnover to grapple with on this list over the next two years, but their recent recruiting revelations will keep them relevant. Ohio State adds a pair of four-star recruits in 2024 and a trio in 2025 to dot the roster with potential, and the transfer portal addition of Sidney Washington will prove incredibly impactful with multiple seasons left to compete in Columbus. Payton Harris will continue to be one to watch after her championship appearance in her rookie season, but she may also have to carry a lot of the Buckeyes’ load while they transition.
The upcoming season should be stellar for Denver, even with the loss of Lynnzee Brown, as five-star recruits Maddison Reidenbach and Madison Ulrich have the potential to fill her shoes. But, there may be a steep drop-off for 2025. The Pioneers are set to lose most of their routines and have yet to secure a commitment from a rated gymnast in the 2024 recruiting class. There are options—like retaining the entire 2024 senior class for their COVID year, grabbing a handful of gymnasts from the transfer portal, or swaying every uncommitted recruit left—but it’s difficult to get a true feel for Denver with so much still in flux.
20. Penn State
The Nittany Lions are quickly distancing themselves from missing regionals as a team in 2022, as their leap back to 25th last season foreshadows what’s to come. Penn State should push for the top 20 in 2024, and with a quartet of four-star recruits joining the roster the following year, it shouldn’t have much of an issue staying there. The experience Ava Piedrahita can bring to this squad after her nationals performance as a freshman is invaluable, as she can help lead the Nittany Lions into the top half of the Big Ten.
On the outside looking in: Iowa, Nebraska, Arizona State, Arizona, Clemson
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Article by Brandis Heffner
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