Men's Gymnastics
Spring Announces Signing Class

Nov. 13, 2013

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois men's gymnastics head coach Justin Spring announced the signing of five gymnasts to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday morning. All five men in the class will be freshmen with four years of eligibility.

"I couldn't be more happy to talk about this recruiting class," Spring said. "It's a really well put together class. Talent aside, they're very driven athletes. They're excited to be Fighting Illini. If you add in the talent they have with those two characteristics, that's a great triple threat for our program."

Bob Baker
Lemont, Ill. // Lemont High School // 5-4 // 135 // All-Around

Bob Baker is a two-time top-10 finisher in the 14-15 junior division at the VISA National Championships (2011, 12) and placed 28th at the 2013 P/G National Championships in the senior division, including a 16th-place finish on the high bar. In 2012, Baker finished in third in the all-around at the Junior Olympic National Championships in the 14-15 division.

Coach Spring Says:
"Bobby has National Team and Olympic potential. He is fearless and very explosive. With some refinement, I can see him pushing for All-American honors on every event sometime in his career here at Illinois."

Tyson Bull
The Basin, VIC, Australia // Victorian College of the Arts // 5-6 // All-Around

Tyson Bull was one of the most sought-after recruits in the world after winning the all-around competition at the 2009 under-17 Australian Championships and 2010 under-18 Australian Championships. Bull was named the Australian Junior International Gymnast of the Year four-straight years from 2009-12 and earned a spot on the Australian Senior Men's National team the last two years. In the 2011 Japan Junior International competition, Bull placed fourth on the high bar and sixth on the parallel bars.

Coach Spring Says:
"Tyson, coming in as a freshman, can do things on high bar that are world class. He has medaled in major international competitions and has been on the Australian National Team. Tyson will certainly be a top all-arounder in the country with potential to win multiple national titles even in his first year."

Harry McLellan
Wyckoff, N.J. // Bergen Catholic // 5-7 // 140 // Pommel Horse, Vault

Harry McLellan is coming off New Jersey state championships on the floor and high bar in 2013. He is a two-time Junior Olympic Nationals qualifier and qualified for the finals one the pommel horse in 2013. He won the floor exercise and pommel horse state titles in New Jersey in 2013. He was the 2013 HNI and Brian Babcock champion on pommel horse, and he helped win the 2012 Region 7 and state championships with his high school team.

Coach Spring Says:
"Harry is a tremendously hard worker. He is a well put together individual, and he is very strong on pommel horse. He also has great talent on vault. With the progressions he has been making, I could see him earning a spot deep in our vault lineup, which we really need next year."

Dennis Minton
Cincinnati, Ohio // Gahanna Lincoln // 5-6 // 135 // Still Rings

Dennis Minton is one of the top rings recruits in the country. In his only Junior Olympic National Championship appearance, Minton placed second on the rings in 2013. He qualified for the Region 5 Championships six times. Minton cites Justin Spring as his Illini icon after watching him at the 2008 Olympics.

Coach Spring Says:
"We brought Dennis in specifically for his insane strength on rings. We started recruiting him when he was a junior in high school; the strength that he was showing at that point was on the level of some of the best rings guys in the country. With a refined swing and dismount for Dennis, he could be deep and possibly even anchor our ring lineup later in his career. He could very well be a Big Ten Champion and All-American on this event sometime in his career."

Eric Uster
Cincinnati, Ohio // North Woodmere, N.Y. // St. Mary's // 5-7 // 130 // Floor Exercise, Vault

Eric Uster (pronounced YOO-ster) comes to Illinois from the same gym that assistant coach Daniel Ribiero used to train at in New Jersey. He qualified for the Junior Olympic Nationals in 2013 and was a finalist on the floor exercise. He won the New Jersey Region 7 high bar in 2013 and helped his team win the 2012 New Jersey state championship and 2013 Region 7 championship. At the 2013 state championships, Uster placed fourth on the parallel bars.

Coach Spring Says:
"Eric was an off-the-radar guy from Daniel (Ribiero's) old gym. We started pursuing him after we were totally shocked by his world-class twisting in his floor routine at Junior Olympic Nationals. He has the potential to be a Big Ten Finalist, All-American or even a national champion on floor and vault. If we can refine his gymnastics, his potential is wide open on those two events."