This is from the July 21 edition of the TWIWVS newsletter on Patreon – assuming they still play games in 2020 the following still applies.
Dante and Darius Stills have never had to look far for motivation.
The Stills brothers are the son of former West Virginia University defensive standout Gary Stills, who went on to a long career in the NFL. For two young football players, having a badass Pro Bowler for a dad sets the bar pretty high but if you have followed Dante and Darius’ careers to this point it is safe to say they’re willing to put in the work to get to that level.
Of course, you could take their dad out of the equation and the two still provide plenty of motivation for each other.
Consider how the Stills brothers each found their way to Morgantown. Darius, who was one year ahead of younger brother Dante at Fairmont Senior High, was a force for some powerhouse Polar Bear teams but did not receive a ton of attention from Power 5 schools outside of West Virginia and Rutgers.
Meanwhile, Dante was regarded as one of the top defensive line recruits in the country while at Fairmont Senior and it was a *big* deal when he stayed close to home to play for the Mountaineers. Imagine being Darius in that spot — you spent your whole life playing to live up to almost unreasonable exceptions because of who you father is and what he had done, and while you’re getting some recruiting attention your little brother is the next big thing.
By all accounts, there was never any ill will between the two but it’s hard to imagine that didn’t help drive Darius during his first few seasons at WVU.
Both Stills brothers have played plenty during their time with the Mountaineers and been called out by coaches around the Big 12 as guys you have to account for on every play, but Darius really made “the leap” — that thing football players do where everything starts to click, and it’s impossible to really describe why it’s happening but there is no denying you’re watching it happen — in 2019. The man ran up on an ESPN sideline reporter, told her to report to the world that Baylor’s offensive line was shitty (my words, not his) and proceeded to whip their ass all over Waco for the next few hours in an otherwise miserable game. He was a WVU legend at that moment if he never played another snap for the Mountaineers.
Cut to last week, and big brother Darius was named the Big 12’s preseason defensive player of the year. Now that dynamic from the recruiting process has been flipped. Darius is the one receiving widespread praise and attention, while Dante has to kind of take a back seat. If history is any indicator, Dante Stills is a good bet to be a beast this football season.