Yale football coach Tony Reno’s son Dante is on his way to South Carolina

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He stood on the sidelines of Yale at the age of 7. He participated in shift meetings at the age of 12. A few years later, he picked the brains of Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year Kurt Rawlings.

Yet when it came time for Dante Reno to choose where to play college football, he made it clear he was a Columbia man.

It would be Columbia, South Carolina, man.

“When he started getting offers, at some point you have to let go of the process, be a father and let him pursue his dreams,” Yale coach Tony Reno said. “He is determined to play quarterback and play at a Power Five level. Obviously, this is a reality. Now go hunt him.

Among the more than 20 scholarship offers received by the four-star quarterback, seven selections sat on a table in front of Reno and his family as CBS Sports headquarters aired its announcement July 2 from their home in Fiskdale, Massachusetts. .

Dante picked up the Yale cap – dad and son smiled at their little joke – and put it back on the table. He quickly put the South Carolina cap on his head and became the first commit of Shane Beamer’s Class of 2024.

There has been speculation of the reclassification in 2023. Yet, as we spoke on Thursday, Dante said: “At the moment we are in 2024.” He is about to enter his first year at Loomis Chaffee in Windsor.

Boston College was the first to speak to him. Iowa was the first to offer him a scholarship in February 2021. During the 18-month trip, schools from all Power Five conferences, as well as Cincinnati and Houston, made offers. UMass and UConn made their presentations. The other five selections on the table were Virginia, Kentucky, NC State, Wake Forest and Purdue, although Dante had quietly told Beamer of his plans days earlier.

South Carolina’s offer had come directly in the middle of the offers. Still, it became clear to Dante – 6ft 1in and 195lbs – who wanted him the most and who he felt was the most genuine.

“The way (South Carolina) recruited me was to be real with me, to be honest,” Dante said. “A lot of people will try to sell you, it’s like a car dealership, but the things they say are lies when you get there. A big thing for me too was talking to the players, learning to know them.

Initially, his only connection to South Carolina was Loomis coach Jeff Moore’s friendship with associate head coach/special teams coordinator Pete Lembo. That would change. Dante would make several trips to Colombia, both official and unofficial. Tony got to know Beamer. Dante has formed a relationship with Lembo and particularly attacking coordinator Marcus Satterfield. Three coaches were recruiting the kid, talking to him several times a week.

“They’re all really good people,” Dante said. “My father and my mother also trust them. The way Coach Beamer talks to me is very similar to the way my dad talks to me about football. Coach Satterfield got to know me more than just as a football player, which is special for me. Football is a huge thing, but when you’re there on a Tuesday night you have to be happy. He made me feel really comfortable.

“He’s really good friends with Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule. His offense is going to be spectacular. I think what they’re going to do with Spencer Rattler this year is going to shock people. professional style, which I think college football is heading towards.

Dante started playing tackle football in the third grade. He turned to flag football at Worcester for a few years before returning to tackle in the eighth grade. He started as a running back before becoming a quarterback and, as a rookie, helped lead a veteran and hotly contested regional Tantasqua team to the 2019 Division 4 State Semifinals.

“He was always athletic, a kid who could throw a baseball, a football,” Tony Reno said. “But to say you were sitting there when he was 10 and you knew (he would be a major college quarterback), I would say absolutely not.

“He went from having the opportunity to be a good high school player to where he is now thanks to his really hard work during COVID. He grew probably three inches during COVID. He hit the weights. He began to develop his insight as a football player, watching movies.

Loomis finished 9-1 last season and won the NEPSAC Todd Marble Bowl with a 21-3 win over Milton Academy. Reno, who passed 22 of 35 for 286 yards and three touchdowns in the championship, finished the season with 2,507 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and a 66% completion rate. Loomis had six players rated at least three recruiting stars.

“COVID was a factor that played into the decision (to transfer to Loomis), but our league is really good. Our team was really good. To be able to have a college atmosphere in high school, in boarding school, the way we treat our off-season. We get up at 5:45 in the morning.

“You are with your best friends all the time. During the free periods, we will be content to watch a film. Having all that in my pocket when I get to college makes me more polite. This will not be new to me.

So how involved was Tony, who played safety at Worcester State, in recruiting Dante? Turns out, his wife, Toni, and Dante pulled off most of the process.

“My dad let me do my thing when all the offers were coming in, everything was happening,” Dante said. “He answered questions. In the end, he put a lot of his knowledge into the decision. He didn’t want me to make a bad decision. Of course, I didn’t want to either.

Tony Reno answered the implication question this way:

“I didn’t want him there thinking I wanted a different experience,” he said. “Last summer, my goodness, they saw maybe 12 schools. He saw more last spring. As he narrowed it down, I started to get involved a little bit. Talking through things. The most important thing for me is that you want to go somewhere where they will develop you in all areas of your life. As a person, as a leader, as a football player.

“Even beyond that, the one thing I kept telling him was that you’re going to find out who you really like to be with. Like he said, any given Tuesday night. When things go wrong, that’s when it counts. When you’re throwing at 75%, it’s easy to be your coach. When you’ve thrown three interceptions in your last five passes, that’s when you really need the guy. He really looked at it. I think the way we run the team, where we’re so relationship-focused, player-driven, he was looking for that. He found it in South Carolina.

Dante is a big football fan. Games like Auburn-Alabama and South Carolina-Clemson are a must. He calls the SEC “essentially a super conference.” As for the quarterback he most admires, he settles on Aaron Rodgers because he’s so accurate, his exit so quick, has been doing it for so long and has changed with the game. “Pretty spectacular” , said Dante.

One of Reno’s best attributes is a quick release. Off the pitch?

“I think the thing we’re most proud of as a father and mother is that he’s constantly trying to improve,” Tony said.

Dante talks about leadership, playing for your teammates, winning your team as a quarterback, small talk that builds relationships. You can hear dad in his son’s voice.

“My dad’s impact was huge,” Dante said. “With him, my mom, my uncle (Domenic) being the head coach at Purdue, I had probably the best support system in the country. My dad taught me everything I know about football. Him and his offensive coordinator Kevin Cahill.

“My mom (a nurse) was huge during COVID. I remember when she didn’t come for three, four days in a row.

Again, that’s the benefit of being around the Yale team as a kid. Travel to away matches. Walk away. Hanging around the players’ lounge. Tyler Varga taking him out for a sandwich for lunch. With adversarial matches on Saturday, Tony missed most of Dante’s matches, but he points to the blessing of having three children (Vince and Angelina with Dante) growing up around the program.

“He was blessed with great role models like Kurt Rawlings, who is also a mentor,” Tony Reno said. “He saw our highs. He saw our stockings. He’s seen how guys handle it. He heard me talk about great examples of how to do things and how not to do things.

Soon he will take all that to Colombia.

“Right now I’m happy that I don’t have to worry about recruiting,” he said as he and his younger brother went to a pitching session. “I can only worry about my team now.”

Because that’s what leaders do.

[email protected]; @jeffjacobs123

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