Morgantown, West Virginia – Today’s decision by the NCAA declaring that student-athletes can play a full season of football this year and not lose any eligibility, opened the doors for many, many possibilities.
Darius Stills, the senior defensive lineman who is the Big 12 Conference Preseason Player of the Year, considered leaving West Virginia after last season to enter the draft before ultimately deciding to return to play for the Mountaineers.
In his announcement that he would return, Stills said the following: “These past 3 years having the opportunity to live out my childhood dreams of playing football and being able to showcase my talents for West Virginia University holds a special place in my heart. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Stills said it best. What could be better for him than playing for his hometown team, alongside his brother Dante, 20 minutes from where he grew up? While he has an NFL future, playing for the Mountaineers with his brother is as good as it’s going to get for Darius Stills. All the money and fame in the world won’t be able to match it.
Stills can not only help his draft position with an extra year, he will have an opportunity to get even more ready physically, while perhaps breaking some West Virginia records and bringing a Big 12 Championship home to Morgantown.
Stills’ father, Gary Stills, is 2nd all-time in West Virginia history with 26 career sacks. While Darius Stills has only 8 career sacks, he had 7 of them last year and has worked hard to become even bigger and better during the offseason. 18 sacks in two seasons would tie his father and 19 would put him at #2 all-time in Mountaineer history. Canute Curtis’ 35 career record for sacks seems out of his reach, but Stills could certainly challenge his father for 2nd all-time.
Even more important than individual accomplishments, the Stills brothers have the opportunity to be the most dominant defense in the Big 12 and bring home a conference championship to West Virginia University. Again, Stills won’t do anything more meaningful in the NFL than what he could do for his Mountaineers.
Dante Stills, a junior, will now have three more seasons of eligibility, but imagine Darius and Dante playing two more seasons – the upcoming season and next season – dominating Big 12 offenses, bringing home a conference championship, and then leaving together for the National Football League. That would be one of the great stories in West Virginia football history.