Advertisement

Jeremiah Smith not only gifted WR out of Chaminade. JoJo Trader has lifted UM corps

Jeremiah Smith wasn’t the only former Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna receiver who made impossible one-handed grabs during high school games.

Sure, Smith was widely considered the nation’s No. 1 high school football player, regardless of position, and drew plenty of publicity when he chose Ohio State over the Miami Hurricanes on early signing day in December.

But his close friend and extremely talented former teammate Josisha “JoJo” Trader, an Under Armour All-American and fellow five-star prospect in the ESPN rankings, began the impromptu one-handed catch competitions at Chaminade practices after he transferred from Miami Central.

On Thursday, Trader was asked about his famous one-handed catches in his first interview with the Miami media after spring practice session No. 11.

“Oh, I’m definitely going to be doing those, but right now, I’ve just got to catch it with two hands,’’ he said.

Why is that? Have coaches ever said anything about it?

“Always, always,’’ he said. “That’s why I got to catch it with two hands. They scream at me and say, ‘Put two hands on the ball!’ Even the offensive line coach if he sees me.’’

What about dancing after touchdowns? The 6-1, 180-pound Trader apparently was good at that, too, and was asked if coach Mario Cristobal would allow it.

“I don’t know,’’ Trader said with a smile. “I just gotta wait and see.’’

Trader, the first top-100 prospect from South Florida to commit to Miami in the recruiting Class of 2024, won his third consecutive state championship as a senior — one with Miami Central as a sophomore in 2021 and two with the Lions. Last season, he had 47 catches for 757 yards and 14 touchdowns as the No. 2 receiver opposite Smith. He also completed two passes in two attempts for 50 yards and two touchdowns.

Joshisa Trader hugs his mother Jo Trader after committing to the University of Miami during signing day at Chaminade-Madonna in Hollywood, Florida on Wednesday, December 20, 2023.
Joshisa Trader hugs his mother Jo Trader after committing to the University of Miami during signing day at Chaminade-Madonna in Hollywood, Florida on Wednesday, December 20, 2023.

College has brought new challenges, such as “getting used to the environment” and “working on my time management, because I really wasn’t working on it in high school that much. Getting up, being at meetings 10 minutes early, making sure I’m watching film after practice.’’

Turns out college classes are the easy part.

“Classes are going great for me,’’ Trader, 18, said, “because from Chaminade, the classroom was the main focus before football.’’

Asked why he chose Miami, Trader said it was a “special’’ place and added this: “When the U is back, it’s a good place to be.’’

Cristobal’s take

Cristobal also spoke Thursday, lauding Trader and fellow elite freshman receiver Ny Carr, 6-0 and 175 pounds, out of Colquitt County High in Moultrie, Georgia.

The two have been making acrobatic one-handed grabs this spring, at least during media viewing, and bolstering a deeper and seemingly much-improved receiving corps. With the return of 1,000-yard senior slot receiver Xavier Restrepo and senior Jacolby George (864 yards receiving and eight touchdowns in 2023) joining 6-4, 205-pound redshirt sophomore Isaiah Horton as expected outside starters, the Canes are that much stronger with Trader, speedster Carr and sophomore Nathaniel “Ray Ray” Joseph.

“Oh, man, they looking great for freshmen,’’ said Joseph, who has put on 15 pounds of muscle and is up to 180 pounds. “They look ahead of their time. I love the way they put in extra work. You call them up, ‘Hey, come get some work.’ Them boys are going to be there. It’s great watching them develop.”

Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Nathaniel Joseph talks to reporters after participating in a spring football practice session at the University of Miami’s Greentree Field on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, in Coral Gables, Fla.
Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Nathaniel Joseph talks to reporters after participating in a spring football practice session at the University of Miami’s Greentree Field on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, in Coral Gables, Fla.

Trader described Carr as “very explosive’’ with “great hands.’’

“Nobody can really tackle him in open space because he’s got speed.’’

Cristobal said Trader, Carr, Armstrong and even redshirt freshman Robby Washington, who has been “nicked up,’’ have all gotten reps with the first team.

‘Natural talent’

“We’re trying to do that with most of the guys we feel have a chance to help themselves become a starter and help us win football games,’’ Cristobal said. “JoJo, we’ve talked before about how he’s played at a high level, and it shows. He’s going to make his freshman mistakes, but the natural talent is very easy to see. He’s gained some weight, gotten stronger. You can expect a really, really good freshman player that’s going to contribute a lot.

“We have a really good quarterback room, so your wide receivers should be excited. We’re really fired up about those guys.”

UM cornerbacks Rob Stafford and Damari Brown agreed Thursday that Trader was excelling. “JoJo gets in and out of his breaks well,’’ Brown said. “He’s a smooth route runner. Just a complete receiver.’’

“He’s not small,’’ Stafford added. “Pretty quick. He’s got great hands, strong hands.’’

Trader said it’s been “a blessing’’ being at UM. “I’m just fortunate getting a lot of reps, so I’ve got to keep pushing and being persistent.’’

He said he stays in touch with former teammates, including Smith — the Ohio State wideout — and asked him how it’s going recently during spring break.

“The time management thing, that’s what all of them are saying,’’ Traders said. “They’ve been working on time management.’’