MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For the last six seasons, at least one of the Stills brothers has suited up for the Mountaineers on the defensive line.
That streak is nearing its natural end.
Dante Stills is entering his fifth and final season with the Old Gold and Blue. Only four other players from his signing class still remain on the WVU roster.
Does that make him feel old? Maybe a little. But with age comes wisdom, and he hopes that will pay off for him before his days as a Mountaineer are done.
“I’m smarter. I’m more mature,” Stills said Wednesday. “The first couple years, I was going just off natural ability. Especially this year coming up, it’s all about knowing schemes and paying attention to film, taking film to heart.”
Stills is a preseason All-Big 12 honoree and an NFL prospect. He understands he has one last chance to cement his WVU legacy and better position himself for a pro contract.
But with fall camp now underway, that’s not what’s fueling him.
While Stills has racked up individual accolades and national attention over the last four seasons, winning hasn’t come so easily. The Mountaineers are 25-22 since Stills arrived on campus in 2018, but they’ve finished below .500 overall in two of their three seasons under head coach Neal Brown.
So, as he prepares with his fifth collegiate season — one promising rivalries, opportunities and finality — he’s only focused on one thing: winning.
“You know, I’m not really focused on myself, my stats. I wanna win games,” Stills said. “Whatever I do to help the team win games, I’ll do that. I’m not gonna sit here and say, ‘I want three sacks, or I want four sacks this game, or I want just one.’ I’m not going into the game like that. I wanna go into the game just play-by-play, do my assignment, go out there and play hard, and it’ll come to me.”
When Stills decided return for another season, Brown challenged him to work harder and better prepare his body. The head coach has been pleased with his defensive lineman’s efforts, which could help Stills become more impactful on the field.
“Much to his credit, winter-wise and summer-wise, he has significantly stepped up his work ethic,” Brown said. “His conditioning level is better, he’s lowered his body fat. Now, he’s gotta go put it on tape.”
Maybe impactful final seasons run in the family: Dante’s older brother, Darius Stills, became a consensus All-American in 2020, his last as a Mountaineer.
But even if Dante Stills doesn’t achieve that title, he could still make history in a different way. He ranks third at WVU in career tackles for loss with 44, and needs just five more TFLs to tie Julian Miller’s program record.
Stills logged a career-best 15 tackles for loss last season, and has registered more than 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage in each of the last three seasons.