Utah Athletics Adds to 2021 Rosters on National Signing Day

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Kiffer Creveling

The University of Utah competes against Stanford during an NCAA Basketball game at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Writer

 

National Signing Day was last week for almost every sport except football, and that means that Utah fans are welcoming a ton of new Utah athletes to campus. It was an overall successful week for teams all across the board, and they’re going forward with some great new student-athletes in the fold. 

Baseball: 

The baseball team signed 11 players, five of which are from here in Utah. Cameron Day and Bryson Van Sickle are both pitchers to watch, as they have been high achievers in high school. Day was named a preseason underclass All-American, while Van Sickle was named to first-team All-State and All-Region. 

Gymnastics: 

Gymnastics came away with Kara Eaker and Grace McCallum, two of the top gymnasts in the country. Both are attempting a 2021 Olympics berth before starting at Utah. Both were World Champions with Team USA twice over. They have been teammates before at many junctures, as well as formerly competing with current Utes Maile O’Keefe, Abby Paulson and MyKayla Skinner, who is also trying for a spot on the 2021 Olympic team. This adds another layer of experience and skill to an already dominant gymnastics program and will set the Utes up for success for years to come. They are building one of the best programs in the country.

Golf: 

The golf team added two players in Joseph Lloyd and Zack Neff. Neff signed in 2019 before leaving on an LDS mission and is now back and ready to join the roster. Lloyd joins from Scottsdale, Arizona, and previously won the 2020 Arizona State Junior Championship.

Soccer: 

Soccer added five players, two defenders and three offensive threats. Maryn Granger and Megan Lusher are both from Utah, and this looks to be a strong class to add next year.

Lacrosse: 

Lacrosse signed twelve players to a growing program in its third year playing Division I ball. These twelve are from nine different states across the country, none of which are Utah. It’s a strong turnout for a young program, and they have to be pleased with the recruiting effort, landing players from all over the country.

Softball: 

Softball signed two players, Hailey Harris and Kendall Lundberg. Harris is ranked as the 29th best pitcher in her class and played three sports in high school, picking softball over volleyball and basketball. Lundberg is the 35th ranked catcher in her class, and both players come from California.

Women’s Basketball: 

Women’s basketball signed three players, two coming from Minnesota in Jenna Johnson and Gianna Kneepkens, as well as Inês Viera from Portugal. Johnson is a four-star recruit and the seventh-best forward in her class. Kneepkens set a school record for scoring at her high school and is in the top ten in scoring in Minnesota all-time. Viera played for the Portugal National Team in 2018 and 2019. She is another in a growing list of international signings for the Utes, as the program’s worldwide reach is becoming more apparent.

Men’s Basketball: 

Men’s basketball only signed one player, Lazar Stefanovic from Serbia. As a very young team with a lot of sophomores and freshmen, Utah didn’t need to add much. Stefanovic has FIBA experience and will be the only new Ute on the squad next year. Serbia has produced a lot of NBA talent over the years, and Utah is hoping Stefanovic will join previous greats out of the country.

 

Overall, it was a successful signing day for Utah. Gymnastics adding two more Olympic-level athletes was the steal of the week, as well as lacrosse continuing to grow their new team. These newly signed Utes will join their teams in the Fall of 2021, and they are all set up for success with their new college program.

 

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