Maryland football officially signed dual-sport athlete and three-star safety Dante Trader Jr. Wednesday morning.
The McDonogh prospect is a top lacrosse athlete who committed to John Tillman first, then added an offer in football from head coach Mike Locksley. His official scholarship will count for football, not lacrosse.
“It’s a different feeling putting pen to paper,” Trader told Testudo Times. “Committing, you’re close, but with signing you’re locked in to that school and can’t go anywhere else. You go from high school and that season to preparing to enroll in college.”
Trader ranks as a top-50 player at his position and is the No. 19 player in Maryland for the 2021 class. He originally hails from Delaware and chose to transfer to McDonogh for lacrosse and football.
On the football field, the 6-foot, 180-pound Trader is a ball-hawking safety who makes plays. Being a top athlete, he brought speed and physicality to both side of the ball, seeing the field as a wide receiver and safety in his first season with the Eagles.
Trader accepted his offer to play football at Maryland in November of 2019, becoming the second player in the class to join the fold. He received offers from Boston College and Syracuse, but the opportunity to play both sports and make an immediate impact at Maryland kept him locked in.
“I watched every single minute [of Maryland football],” Trader said. “One of the biggest things is seeing the young guys out there and how the defense has gotten better every single week.”
The 2021 Maryland class began stacking this year, but Trader, Jayon Venerable and Tai Felton helped lay the true foundation of local athletes wanting to stay home.
“When you’re one of the first guy, you don’t really know what it’ll be like,” Trader said. “It was surprising because we started getting all the guys and it’s turned into something special.”