In this installment of The Recruiting Notebook, we meet a talented receiver who can stretch the field, and score at any time: Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna 4-star WR Joshisa “Jojo” Trader.
One of the man positions on the roster that Miami has needed an upgrade of talent (over many years, but that’s a conversation for another day) is wide receiver. To help address that issue and bridge that gap, Miami turned their recruiting attention to Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna WR Joshisa “Jojo” Trader.
A dynamic 6’1” 175lbs player, Trader has been one of the premier playmakers in South Florida from a young age. Like his HS teammate (and fellow Miami signee) Zaquan Patterson, Trader was on the legendary Miami Gardens Ravens team that’s spawned many elite P5 recruits.
Trader started his HS career at Miami Gardens (FL) Monsignor Pace as a freshman. That is a school that’s produced many Miami players in the past, but Trader’s time there was limited to a year. As a sophomore, he transferred to Miami (FL) Central and was a part of their run of 4 consecutive State Championships. It was at Central that Trader’s scholarship offer list began to grow. Georgia was first to offer, but Miami was quick to join the fray with Trader’s second offer. After that, Pitt, Texas A&M, Florida and Florida State all extended bids to Trader and we were off!
A 2-way player as a sophomore at Central, Trader caught 26 passes for 592 yards and 6 TDs in only 6 games, while also playing in the Rockets’ secondary at cornerback and safety. In that season, Trader’s coming out party was a 114 yard, 2 touchdown showing against a loaded Plantation (FL) American Heritage team that itself has been among the premier programs in Florida over the last decade. That performance both singularly against Heritage and collectively across the games he played in the season is what really put Trader on the map as a blue chip prospect. But, an age-old question also came to the fore: should Trader play offense or defense in college?
For his part, Trader had his preference — offense — and he went to a school where that would be fully embraced. Enter his transfer to Chaminade-Madonna to join another powerhouse program in the midst of a run of what would end up being 4 consecutive State Championships. Focusing mainly on offense as a junior, Trader posted 47 catches for 473 yards and 7 TDs. Trader also had a cup of coffee on defense as a junior for Chaminade — a small school with only 600 students total and about 50 on the football team — but it was clear that his future was on offense.
For his efforts as a junior, Trader was named a MaxPreps 2nd Team All-American, and named to the 2024 Under Armour All-American game, and with that notoriety, even more scholarship offer poured in. Along the way, Trader was a frequent visitor to both Miami and other schools. He visited no fewer than 10 schools unofficially and for camps, but primary among them was Miami. Trader made a handful of unofficial visits along with multiple camp visits to Miami, and the Canes were keen to use that connection to get the talented receiver to commit to the hometown team.
After multiple unofficial visits in the spring of 2023 to finalists Miami and Florida State (2x each), Trader decided he’d seen enough and was ready to make a commitment. And he did just that, announcing his choice to stay home and play for the Canes on July 13th.
On the 247sports composite, Trader is a 4-star prospect, the #3 ATH nationally, #7 in the State of Florida, and #38 player overall in this class.
As A Player
At 6’1” 175lbs, Trader has decent height but is a bit thin at receiver. He’s not unplayable or anything, but he would be well served to gain a bit of weight. Trader has long arms and plus athleticism, so his catch radius is bigger than just his frame.
When you see Trader play, he lines up all over the place. Outside Z receiver, in the slot, and he goes in motion as well. Trader doesn’t have the size to play X, but with the variety of alignments that he does play, he has the ability to run all the routes in the route tree.
He does it in a variety of ways, but Trader is an electric playmaker. He uses varied speeds in his routes, and once he gets the ball in his hands, he’s a threat to score from anywhere on the field. When you project forward to Trader as a mismatch for defenders in college, things line up well for him to make a big, big impact at Miami.
Trader has good (but not super elite) speed, and plenty of wiggle so his run after catch skill is one that pops out on the field. He’s able to use it from any alignment, but particularly when catching passes inside the numbers. Also, he has a signature “step back” juke move, and he employs that in all areas of the field, but mostly when he catches a ball one on one on the outside. It’s a cool move, and routinely makes defenders fall to their knees, but Trader would be wise to leave that one in the bag when he’s running after the catch through the teeth of an opposing college defense.
Trader is a pretty natural pass catcher, using his hands rather than his body to bring balls in. He’s also a good athlete, and can go up to win catches in the air against even the tightest of coverage. I wouldn’t make a habit of throwing him jump balls, but if it happens, I’m fine with it. Go get the ball, Jojo!
One area of growth for Trader will be his run blocking. He’s okay at it now, but he’ll need to continue to refine his technique as he develops, and develops his body as well.
For another look at Trader, here’s an eval from 247sports Director of Scouting Andrew Ivins:
A big play waiting to happen. One of the best we have seen in recent years at tracking the football and making acrobatic grabs as he will lay out to move the chains or levitate over defenders for six points. Won a state title as a sophomore at Miami Central before adding another ring to the jewelry case as a junior at Chaminade-Madonna Prep. Not the biggest of skill players, but has started to add some mass in the upper half and tends to play much bigger than the numbers suggest. Tempo-based route runner that likes to mix gears to shake defenders out on the perimeter. Ability to make high-level catches look relatively easy is certainly rare, but so is his burst and vision in the open field as a ball carrier. Looking more and more like an offensive weapon at the next level, but has also gotten snaps on the defensive side of the ball throughout prep career and has shown on the 7-on-7 circuit that he can shut down one side of the field, at least in that type of setting. Should be viewed as a potential gamebreaker for a Power Five program. Likely to find the most success as “Z” or a slot in a pro-style attack that wants to challenge the deeper third, but the idea of him settling in as a safety or cornerback is certainly intriguing given his ball skills. NFL upside.
- Championship pedigree (3 State Championships in HS)
- Strong hands
- Can play inside and outside
- Slight build
- Run blocking
Note: changed this up from just a freshman-season outlook to a career outlook for each player a few years ago and we’re continuing that style this year as well.
Miami needs improved depth, talent, and performance at wide receiver. Getting Trader to stay home goes toward the first two, and hopefully if he continues to play to the level that’s made him a blue chip recruit, it will address the third part as well.
The sky is the limit for Trader. He has the kind of talent that Miami has seldom seen at receiver in recent years, and he’ll be given every opportunity to realize that talent to the best of his ability. Trader will have a chance to get into the rotation as a freshman, and figures to be a key member of the passing game moving forward.
There is a high level of uncertainty with receivers, since the offense plays so many of them, and the turnover on the roster will be massive this offseason. That being said, Trader is the kind of talent that’s gotten away from Miami in recent years (with very few exceptions), and hopefully he’ll be able to elevate the performance on the field to elite levels as well.
If everything goes to plan, Trader will be pushing for All-Conference honors in short order. At a minimum he should be a solid rotation player, but obviously, the focus on exceeding what Trader brings as a very high floor to the roster in Coral Gables.
That’s it for this installment of The Recruiting Notebook.