Shane Beamer and South Carolina got in on the Dante Reno sweepstakes in the middle of his recruitment — at least that’s how he remembers it.
“My recruitment started my freshman year, so they came in kind of like the middle of it,” Reno told The State. “They had offered me, I think they were my 12th, and then after that I had, like, 13, or something like that offers after that.”
Regardless of when they started, Reno said South Carolina recruited him “the hardest out of any school in the country,” and it clearly worked.
Reno announced his commitment to South Carolina on Saturday night, becoming the first member of Beamer’s 2024 class.
The four-star quarterback is from the Loomis Chaffee School in Fiskdale, Massachusetts. There, he threw for 2,507 yards and 27 touchdowns while completing 66% of his passes last year as a sophomore.
While his on-the-field skills are certainly there, Reno also brings important intangibles to the table that an SEC quarterback must have to succeed.
“They’re gonna get a hard-working kid who puts his team first, his coaches first,” Reno said. “He’s gonna work hard, he’s gonna be able to develop both in the film room and in the classroom. And lastly, he’s going to lead, but lead by example, not by my mouth, because that’s the kind of way I carry myself.”
He said he loved his first visit to Columbia. After not being able to catch a Gamecocks practice, he took another trip two weeks later and was immediately hooked.
“I talked to coach (Marcus) Satterfield two times a week, coach Beamer one time a week and coach (Pete) Lembo one time a week,” Reno said. “So those three guys kind of recruited me and recruited me the hardest out of the whole time, so I felt comfortable with them, my family felt comfortable with them.”
Of those coaches, Reno bonded with Satterfield the most. Reno threw with him at a USC camp last month and in previous conversations with The State has had nothing but high regards for the offensive coordinator.
“He’s like one of my best friends, I mean, I talk to that dude about anything and he’s honestly recruited me the hardest, but we don’t really talk about football that much,” Reno said. “It’s kind of just about everything in life that’s happening with his life and his family, my family. Just simple stuff like that.”
Satterfield has become a quarterback recruiting wizard of sorts since arriving in Columbia, helping land recruits like Tanner Bailey and Braden Davis — and having a hand in USC landing transfer QB Spencer Rattler. And he was certainly the one who helped Reno make his decision.
“(Satterfield’s) biggest thing was, when you know it’s going to be home, it’s going to be home. And honestly, I felt like that the first time I stepped on campus and then the last couple times I went on, I was like, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be coming to this school,” Reno said. “He’s obviously a great football coach, but he’s an even better person. That’s what you gotta look for in school. You gotta look for the good people, not just the great coaches.”
Reno technically made his commitment last month, doing so silently when he let Beamer know during South Carolina’s cookout recruiting event. He ultimately chose USC over his finalists of Kentucky, NC State, Purdue, Virginia and Wake Forest.
If he had to name a runner-up in his recruitment, Reno said he’d have to choose Yale, the school where his father, Tony Reno, has been head coach since 2012.
Dante said his father being a head coach was something he was glad to have and it made him “way more comfortable” with his decision.
“He kind of helped me a lot,” Reno said. “Just by building relationships with coaches, knowing what questions to ask them, and if they have specific answers based on my questions, kind of knowing where they’re coming from, and the love that they’re giving or, what kind of offense they run, and all those little things.”
During the recruitment process, the Yale head coach struck up a good relationship with Beamer, according to Reno.
“Coach Beamer and him, every time we went down there, my dad and him would always talk,” Reno said. “Every night he’d come back to my hotel, he’s like, ‘This is definitely a guy I want to come watch you play for,’ so that obviously made me really comfortable with my decision.”
Other than his dad, Reno also utilized current players as a resource during his recruiting process, not just at South Carolina but at all the schools he visited.
“The coaches are kind of like a, I don’t want to say like a used car salesman, but they’re trying to sell you their car, and the kids are not gonna lie to you,” Reno joked. “They’re living in it and they’re playing in and they’re breathing the whole, whatever the heck the coaching staff is preaching to them.”
Reno said he relied the most on South Carolina QB Luke Doty. The two were in constant contact and that Doty was a huge help, Reno said.
“Luke was obviously a great resource, and probably thank you to Luke for getting me to South Carolina,” Reno said.
As for what comes next, Reno is already planning to be the “best recruiter” and convince other players to join him in Columbia.
“There’s a bunch of guys I got on my mind right now,” Reno said. “Obviously, Kam Pringle, Mazeo Bennet and Josiah Thompson are all South Carolina kids, so it’d be nice for them to stay home. I think we’ll probably get either three or two out of three of those kids. So I’m in contact with them every day.”
Reno also double down on what he told The State last month about potentially reclassifying to the class of 2023. He said that he plans to remain in the class of 2024 but that it’s “still an option” to move to the 2023 class.
His ultimate goal though is to come in and “make a name for myself” while also helping South Carolina get back to national relevance.
“I’m just going to put my head down every day and work and bring South Carolina back to where it was about six or seven years ago,” Reno said.