The West Virginia football program has a new record holder. Dante Stills is the all-time leader in tackles for a loss with 48.5. The Fairmont, WV native hit the mark on Saturday after reading TCU quarterback Max Duggan’s screen.
“I was going inside and then I realized ‘wait, I’m not getting hit’ and then I almost tripped but got back on my feet and noticed the ball was in there. air and I just tried to tackle him.”
As your name is etched in the records, you pass legends along the way. He was moved by Julian Miller and former teammate and current Tennessee Titans linebacker David Long Jr last season with his 15 TFLs, before passing Grant Wiley on Saturday.
” That says everything. These guys were great players and put everything they had into this program and it’s just an honor and I’m blessed to be able to do that here at home,” Stills said.
Stills produced 28.5 tackles for a loss in his first three seasons, 20 saves behind the record line, but said stadium renovations brought him to his attention.
“I didn’t know how far I was until this whole place was redone,” he said. “I didn’t even know what the record was until they released it two years ago, so I started chasing it, and then I realized I had a chance. It’s a great feeling, but I would trade it for the win anytime.
He recorded at least a tackle for a loss in 10 of his 13 appearances last season but hasn’t had the same success this season, recording five TFLs in eight games, but his impact is still felt on the pitch. .
“His time here is really just the growth in him from a young player to an old player and how he plays the game,” WVU defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley said. “I never look at the stats on that, I look at how you play the position you’re asked to play, and so Dante has played more complete games this season as an inside defensive lineman and some on the board, where he is good at both.
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“Dante is going to be a pro. He’s a professional player, he obviously has professional skills,” added Lesley. Also noting that Stills’ attention to detail will give him a chance in the NFL.
“Really him as a kid and a player is just the growth over the last four years, something that we’ve always talked about, playing in his fundamentals and his pattern and then obviously using his size and his athleticism his power his speed when he has such a unique combination of all those things, that’s what’s going to give him an opportunity at the next level.
Despite Stills’ success, he’s eager to create a split on the TFL’s all-time roster, hitting his number 55 shirt for his career tally is intriguing but ultimately continues to grow.
“I still feel like I can still improve a lot of my game. I still feel like I have to do more for the team,” he said.
Stills will look to add to his total on Saturday as the Mountaineers head west to Ames, IA to take on the Iowa State Cyclones at 3:30 p.m. EST.
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