Morgantown, West Virginia – When Darius Stills was named to the first team Associated Press All-American team earlier today, he became the 11th Mountaineers player to ever receive that incredible honor.
Stills is only the 4th West Virginia defensive player to ever be named to the All-American first team, joining former Mountaineers Grant Wiley (2003), Canute Curtis (1996) and Darryl Talley (1982).
Grant Wiley finished his career as WVU’s all-time leader in tackles (492), tackles for loss (47.5) and solo tackles (288).
Canute Curtis ranked first in WVU history in career sacks (34.5) and single season sacks (16.5).
Darryl Talley finished his career with the Mountaineers with 282 unassisted tackles , 202 assisted tackles, 28 tackles for loss and 19 quarterback sacks.
In comparison, Darius Stills has 45 solo tackles, 34 assisted tackles, 11.5 sacks and one absolutely incredible diving interception.
While Wiley, Curtis and Talley were certainly more impressive statistically than Stills, the numbers don’t tell the entire story.
Head Coach Neal Brown said the following of Stills’ senior season: “What has been really rewarding for me as a coach is if you look at his stats because they really aren’t as good as they were a year ago, but he’s played within the scheme of the defense, and as an overall football player he’s played much better, and so he’s bought into what we’re doing from a schematic standpoint.
“He’s been unselfish in that standpoint, but even though his stats are down, he’s still getting rewarded because whether it’s coaches, media members, NFL personnel, whoever voting on these rewards understands that the level of football he’s playing and how he’s affecting the game or how he’s affecting opposing offensive even though his stats maybe are a little bit down.
I just don’t think that his statistics tell the story. I’m glad he’s getting rewarded for his level of play, not necessarily just his numbers.”
While Stills’ performance wasn’t as eye-popping on the stat sheets, he was absolutely exceptional on the defensive line for the Mountaineers for the past three seasons. In addition, his decision to come to West Virginia after initially committing to Rutgers was huge for the football program and he’s exceeded his expectations while here in Morgantown.
Grant Wiley, Canute Curtis, Darryl Talley, as well as Karl Joseph, Adam “Pacman” Jones, Aaron Beasley, Chuck Howley, Sam Huff and John Thornton can all make their case as the best defender in West Virginia history, no one has meant more to the football program than Fairmont, West Virginia’s own, Darius Stills.