The two most recognizable football-playing brothers in West Virginia will line up together again this fall in what might be their final season in the Old Gold and Blue.
Fans of prep football in West Virginia know their story well: when they played together at Fairmont Senior, Dante Stills, now a junior defensive lineman, was the more coveted recruit. His big brother Darius hasn’t forgotten that fact, and his signature sack celebration is a nod to that past.
“You guys probably don’t know why I shrug,” Darius Stills told West Virginia Illustrated in an interview this week. “I was under-recruited and stuff. We went to all these camps and like, these coaches would be like, we’re gonna bring both ya’ll in the office, we’re gonna offer both of ya’ll. But as soon as we get in there, they’d be like nah, we’re gonna offer your brother instead. That’s what they’d tell me.”
As he enters his senior season, Darius is no longer undervalued. He’s the Big 12’s preseason defensive player of the year and has landed on watch lists for a number of major college football awards.
The Fairmont native says he isn’t getting caught up in the preseason accolades, but he still boasts confidence.
“Instead of getting all upset about it, I was like I’m gonna show all these teams that y’all shoulda offered me scholarships, so when I go like this,” he shrugs, “I’m like, ‘hey, I told you.’”
What the Stills brothers are focused on this season is upping their game. Both players have sights set on the NFL — Darius even considered entering the draft after his junior season.
But they also know they’re running out of time together. For most of their lives, the Stills brothers have played football on the same team. If this is their last year together, they want to soak it all in — even in the midst of a pandemic.
“A lot of hard stuff comes on, but that’s the stuff you cherish most,” Darius Stills said. “Since this is mine and Dante’s possibly last year playing ever on the same team, we are going to go all out, because everyone knows us as the Stills brothers.”
Added Dante: “We got, what, 4 or 5 months left? Because he’s gone after that, so I have to FaceTime or fly out where he’s at, so I’m gonna cherish everything for sure.”
This season, as Darius put it, is all about appreciating “the little things.” That includes continuing to follow in the footsteps of their father Gary Stills, a former Mountaineer standout.
That’s why the two brothers set a not-so-little goal for this season: solidify the Stills family legacy at WVU.
“Now that we’ve kind of got this tradition going of the Stills family producing at West Virginia, that’s kind of like what I want my kids to know — if you come here, you gotta produce, because we did it and our father did it,” Darius said. “We’re trying to build a tradition here.”
Watch an extended interview with the Stills brothers next weekend when Mountaineer GameDay returns. Check your local listings for more details.