Safety duo hailed as quarterback of Maryland football’s defense

Maryland football has two playmakers at the safety spot in Dante Trader Jr. and Beau Brade. They may be young guys, but they play like veterans.

“Yeah, we started our connection when I first got here, he was the first ones that helped me with the playbook, [showing] me the ropes, everything. He was like a big brother to me,” Trader said about his and Brade’s connection back in September.  “We always had a goal to play together and have a connection. So we were always in the weight room after film, always doing extra stuff. So now, like when we’re on the field together, we’re grinding and shining together.”

At this point in the 2022-23 season, Trader Jr. has 25 tackles (14 solo), an interception, one quarterback pressure, and one pass breakup. Brade has 46 tackles (26 solo), four pass breakups, three tackles for loss, one interception, and one forced fumble.

They received high praise from senior defensive back Jakorian Bennett Tuesday ahead of the Terps’ road game against the Indiana Hoosiers.

“I would say just all the games, the collection of them.  Without those guys, they’re like the quarterbacks of the defense, They give the calls, communicate to everybody, and just let everybody know what they have [to do]. Without those guys, we probably wouldn’t even be, we probably know what defense we’re in. They gonna continue to improve. Those are my guys and I love them.”

The pair’s communication skills and work ethic impresses Bennett.

“Communication. [The] communication has been great. Those are two smart young guys. They don’t have a lot of field experience, but they’re so mature with their mindset. They’re always working, they’re always in the film room, always doing extra. So, that just makes me want to even do more than I do, they’re good, they gonna continue to improve and they gonna continue to make plays and help us win games.”

What does a player or duo have to do to become the quarterback of the defense?

It starts with confidence. The confidence a young player has comes from knowing their assignments and understanding what the coaching staff asks of them. As one builds it up through preparation and action, other players see that and are impacted positively.

Maryland football head coach Mike Locksley spoke about Trader’s leadership earlier this season.

“…The safety position much like the quarterback position comes with leadership attached to it. Here’s a young player, we try to develop leadership within our team, and it’s why we created the leadership council. He’s been a part of it since he’s been here on campus. The biggest thing that [sticks] out is when you’re not afraid. In this day and age, peer pressure runs society, and Dante’s not one of those guys that’s afraid to call out a teammate older, younger doesn’t matter if they’re not necessarily living up to our standard. To me, if we continue to have a lot of guys like Dante trader, we will continue to build this program to win championships.”

Early in the season, defensive turnovers eluded Maryland football. The Southern Methodist game is when the unit turned things around.

While much has been made about the lack of starting experience between the new safety tandem heading into this year, Maryland has quickly found a reliable backbone for its defense.

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