Asti: Dante Stills’ Legacy at West Virginia Goes Beyond the Numbers
Dante Stills is one of the greatest defensive players in the history of West Virginia. Those are some big words, especially when they are said about a plater who was not fortunate to play on any truly great teams, at least not in college. But those words are the truth because of his individual legacy.
The Fairmont, West Virginia native touched on this while talking with the media this week. His media session came just a few days after breaking the program’s all-time record for tackles for a loss, a record that has stood for over 20 years since it was then broken by former All-American Grant Wiley. Stills set the mark of 48.5 and counting on Saturday in the team’s loss to TCU. And doing it in a loss is almost fitting for Stills, whose career began with the end of one coaches’ tenure and has since had to endure a roller coaster ride stretch with another.
Dante Stills Breaks Record for Most Tackles for Loss in West Virginia Football History
“It’s an honor. I’m blessed to be able to do it here, at home, wearing West Virginia,” Stills said when asked about what the record means to him. He even alluded to not knowing what the exact total was of the record until WVU remodeled their facilities and plastered the walls with the past success of the program. It was at that time Stills realized the record was obtainable. And now, even though there’s not some major bowl win or conference championship on his resume, there is something tangible to point to when discussing the Dante Stills legacy at WVU.
“It’s definitely some type of validation. It’s great to have,” Stills admitted that a statistical record provides him something everyone can look at to know just how good he was. It’s been often sad by head coach Neal Brown and defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley that Stills’ game can’t be truly evaluated only looking at the numbers. This is often due to Stills being the player opposing team’s scheme for and center their game plans around.
Stills seems to even deal with more double team matchups this year than even in prior seasons, which could be why his stats are actually down some this year. For example, he only has 2.5 sacks so far this year after 7 in 2021 and only 16 tackles following a career-high of 36 last season.
But eventually, Stills’ legacy is going to be about what he did overall and what he means to the state of West Virginia too. Through about four and a half seasons to date, Stills has tallied 124 tackles, 77 of them as solo tackles, 47 assists and 21.5 sacks during his WVU career. Beyond his on field play, Stills will be remembered for wanting to stay home, like his brother before him, to wear the Old Gold and Blue uniform of the Mountaineers.
Stills will be remembered as a player who started off in the shadows of another West Virginia legend and grew into a true leader. “I would trade it for a win,” is a comment Stills said referring to reaching a personal goal of the TFL record in a game his team did not come out on top. His team first mentality adds a sense of sadness to his tenure at WVU. He did accomplish the record he was chasing, but is he satisfied with his time at WVU? That’s a question only he can answer, but it’s safe to say he would prefer to have more big wins over the years, regardless how many tackles those came with.
Former Mountaineer Darius Stills Selfless in Assisting Brother Dante with NFL Dream
With his sights firmly set at the next level, there’s no denying that no matter if he reaches NFL success or not, and his brother Darius is a prime example of how that’s never a guarantee, Stills has put together a college career that WVU fans will remember fondly for a long time and warrants induction into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame one day.