At One Time Darius Stills Was the Enticement To Get Brother Dante, Now Beware of Both
STILLWATER -- A major concern for Oklahoma State on Saturday with West Virginia will be neutralizing the Stills brothers. I'm not always very clever, but I liked my line earlier this week when I said West Virginia builds there defense from the Stills back. There have been more than a few stills up in the Appalachian Mountains near Morgantown. Moonshine has been known to be consumed at tailgates outside Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturdays. These Stills, as in Darius and Dante Stills, operate in the interior of the Mountaineers defensive line.
It is the older brother Darius that is the Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as voted on by the media that cover the Big 12. Last season the 6-1, 285-pound older Stills brother had 47 tackles, 28 unassisted, 14.5 tackles-for-loss, and 7.0 sacks. He did not play in the season opener against Eastern Kentucky.
He reminds me of the Rams Aaron Donald in that he is a smaller, but extremely athletic inside technique player on the defensive line. It turns out that the All-Stater from nearby Fairmont, WV that is the son of a former Mountaineer and nine-year veteran in the NFL wasn't as regarded as you might think coming out of high school. It was his younger brother Dante that was the big-time recruit.
"This will stun you and it does me anytime you talk about Darius Stills," West Virginia play-by-play voice Tony Caridi said in launching a story about the highly-regarded Mountaineer defensive lineman. "The thought was that they (WVU) only offered Darius to get Dante. That staff is no longer here, but there were people on staff then that said, 'don't think he can play here at this level. He probably should stay home and play at (Division II) Fairmont State.'"
That would have been the Dana Holgorsen staff and when Rutgers offered Darius and he verbaled to them, then West Virginia responded and they offered him too.
"Darius came in and had a huge chip on his shoulder and basically came in and did whatever he had to in proving people wrong that criticized him or underrated him," Caridi explained.
Darius plays alongside his younger brother, who did play in the 56-10 opening win over Eastern Kentucky and had three tackles and 1.5 tackles-for-loss. The younger Stills has 43 career tackles with 19.5 for loss and 10 career sacks.
Together the Stills are a handful inside for any offensive line. The Cowboys will bring two veterans to the party in Ry Schneider at center and someone that should have plenty of experience blocking against the Stills brothers with left guard Josh Sills, a former Mountaineer second-team All-Big 12 offensive lineman.
This will be a huge area to watch. I know my eyes will be on it.
The WVU coaching staff knows what motivates Darius Stills, so they are still working to fire him up for the 2020 Saturdays including this one this week in Stillwater.
"It's a great honor, but now you have to prove that it's true," West Virginia head coach Neal Brown has said of Stills being the preseason top defender in the Big 12.
"That's the way it is," added Caridi. "He's a marked man now and there likely won't be a single play this season where he gets a single blocker. He'll be double-teamed and then players will come in and chip him. He's going to get pounded and how is he going to deal with that and what kind of year can he have."
Let's hope it gets off to less than a spectacular beginning this Saturday in Stillwater.