Illinois teams load up on Signing Day

Nov. 9—Baseball

ATHLETE Height Position(s) former School(s)

Mitch Dye 6-3 RHP Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin/Lincoln Land

Luke Landrus 6-2 C St. Joseph-Ogden

Brayden Mazzacano 6-2 LHP/OF Schaumburg

Luke Weber 6-0 RHP Highland Park

From coach Dan Hartleb:

* "I love getting young guys that buy into things, and they go through the ups and downs and you can help them develop as an athlete and a human being. ... There's some things we still need to do. Would you like to have everything done in the fall? Absolutely, but that's not a reality in college athletics now. ... But am I comfortable with where we're at? Yes, because we brought in really, really good players, and I don't ever want to settle and just say we filled a position. We need to fill it with great athletes and guys who can help us win. Right now, I'm very comfortable."

Men's gymnastics

Athlete Specialty Former club

Hasan Aydogdu All-around Meadowlands Gymnastics Academy (N.J.)

Matthew Nguyen All-around Roswell Gymnastics (Ga.)

Ian Sandoval All-around EVO Gymnastics (Fla.)

From coach Daniel Ribeiro:

* "We've missed out on those top all-arounders a lot over the last 10 years. These last two years getting the all-arounders is huge because they are the top recruits in the country. ... It's hard to break in, but now that we've broken in and have a few national team members it makes it a lot easier for us to continue to grow and to continue to build on what we have. ... Now, we have some of the top specialists in the nation and we have the all-arounders. We're going to make a really, really strong push this year and moving forward."


Athlete Position Former school

Mia Gildea D Centennial (Texas)

Ava LeGault MF Deep Run (Va.)

AJ Mayock MF Round Rock (Texas)

Peyton Rhodes GK Brookwood (Ga.)

Lauren Seppi D Nerinx Hall (Mo.)

Emma Yee F Burnaby Secondary School (B.C.)

From coach Janet Rayfield:

* "Every single one of these players comes from a winning program. We went from really struggling two years ago to being extremely competitive this year and were moments away from, I would say, being top in the Big Ten. ... We've got to really make that transition from a competitive team to a winning team. This class is going to help us. They've won youth national championships. They've won state championships in high school. If I would say anything about this class, this class is coming in with a winning pedigree and expects that pedigree to continue."


Athlete Height Position(s) Former school(s)

Keirys Click 5-3 C/UT Hobart (Ind.)

Fae Cornish 5-3 IF/OF Mustang (Okla.)

Ella Cushing 6-0 1B Downers Grove South

Danika Frazier 5-7 P Olympia

Ellie Haggard 5-10 IF Bradley-Bourbonnais

Ava Moore 5-4 SS Tecumseh (Ohio)

Chaney Peters 5-5 UT Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.)

Taylor Porter 5-6 IF Leander (Texas)

Jackie Yeager 6-0 C Stone Bridge (Va.)

Karley Yergler 5-7 P Mahomet-Seymour/Parkland College

From coach Tyra Perry:

* "The travel ball world has expanded. It's become big business. There are players that are on teams and they literally don't practice with them. They just fly in and go play for them. Maybe they're not even on the team and they just pick up with them here and there. We've actually sought out teams that actually practice their players, teach them the game. We're looking for high softball IQ, and there's been quite a few that have produced really strong fits for us over the past (eight) years. We continue to work with those coaches and those programs."


Athlete Height Position(s) Former School

Ashlyn Philpot 6-4 MB DH Conley (N.C.)

Laynie Smith 6-3 OH/OPP Chapel Hill (N.C.)

From coach Chris Tamas: "We pick up two kids from the same state and the same club team, and that definitely wasn't by design. We go out and try to find the best we can find that want to come to Illinois. ... They're just tremendous players and tremendous teammates. I think that's the one thing that we always want to emphasize is we want to be really good not only on the court but as teammates, too. Volleyball is one of the ultimate team sports. You need six players on the court to gel. Both of them have shown to do that tremendously, and they both bring some versatility and both bring size."