MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Three-and-a-half years after arriving at WVU and breaking into the defensive lineup as a real freshman, Darius Stills has left Morgantown to embark on the subsequent chapter of his soccer journey. Like many NFL hopefuls, Stills has gone south to coach for pre-draft exercises. The Fairmont Senior Excessive Faculty graduate is in his third week of intensive coaching in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
He might have elected to start his pre-draft preparations a couple of month earlier. However going in opposition to the development of some prime skilled prospects, Stills opted to play in WVU’s bowl recreation. He helped the Mountaineers to a 24-21 win over Military within the Liberty Bowl.
“I couldn’t think about having my teammates on the market with out me, particularly going in opposition to a workforce like that or every other workforce,” Stills stated. “I keep in mind in my sophomore yr, a few the fellows opted out. All of us sort of felt like we have been misplaced. I didn’t need my teammates to really feel that approach about me. I’m a ball participant. I’ll play wherever, anytime. I’m glad we completed that recreation off robust.”
Stills’ title was well-known all through West Virginia late in his highschool profession but he wasn’t attracting a excessive quantity of curiosity from ‘Energy 5’ colleges. That reality by no means escaped him.
“I knew what sort of soccer participant I could possibly be. I knew if I simply labored onerous at that, I’d get there. I’m not there but. However I do know I’m very shut.
“It fueled that fireside and made the chip on my shoulder larger. I’m the kind of man that likes to show individuals incorrect. The perfect feeling is to not search revenge, however simply to succeed.”
Stills performed in 21 video games throughout his freshman and sophomore seasons in 2017 and 2018. However he thrived in his junior season, following the transition in teaching staffs from Dana Holgorsen to Neal Brown.
“I heard the teaching employees coming in was going to run a four-down entrance and allow us to get after it as a result of that’s what they did at Troy. I used to be simply actually glad to get the chance.”
As a junior, Stills earned All-Massive 12 first workforce honors whereas beginning 11 video games. He led WVU in tackles for loss (14.5) and tied for the workforce lead with seven sacks.
“Over time, I used to be maturing by studying in regards to the recreation and slowing it down in my head. I knew I might shoot gaps and I might play ball. However I simply needed to learn to do it, when to do it and the place to do it. Maturing mentally all through the years undoubtedly helped. And studying new schemes benefitted me and made me extra in tune with what’s going on.”
Within the 2019 season opener in opposition to James Madison, Stills collected six tackles and blocked a discipline aim. It was in that recreation that he gained added perception that he might evolve into an influence participant.
“I received that sack and I knew that I might play this recreation. That’s when the arrogance kicked in. When you get confidence, you are able to do something.”
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) January 19, 2021
In some ways, Stills launched himself to the school soccer world along with his efficiency on Halloween evening at Baylor.
“I knew I had three sacks however I didn’t know what number of tackles I had as a result of I used to be simply taking part in ball. I didn’t actually care as a result of I used to be simply making an attempt to win the sport. They stated, ‘You had ten tackles’. I used to be like, ‘Woah’.”
Stills entered his senior season because the Massive 12 Preseason Defensive Participant of the Yr and he backed up these lofty expectations by turning into WVU’s first consensus All-American in fourteen seasons. It’s troublesome for defensive linemen to make performs that go viral on spotlight reels. Stills did simply that with a diving interception in opposition to Kansas for his first collegiate turnover.
“I used to be working and I noticed the ball tipped up. I knew I used to be slightly far however I used to be going to put out for it. It labored out. It’s loopy since you see these performs and you’re like, ‘What if that was me’? It was me. In order that’s loopy.”
Darius’ days now comply with a strict regiment of exercises, drills and lifting alongside different skilled prospects.
“I get up at 6:50 each morning and get a exercise from 7-10. I get remedy proper after. At 11:30, it’s place work. Then we have now a 1:30 carry. We practice twice a day, so we have now pace coaching within the morning. Then within the afternoon we have now a heavy carry till about 3:00.
“Proper now, they’re coaching us for pace. So they’re getting us lean, constructing lean muscle and shedding a whole lot of fats off our our bodies.”
Although Darius will probably be taking part in on Sundays subsequent fall, he’s assured the group he leaves behind can proceed to succeed on WVU’s first line of protection.
“We’ve received Taijh (Alston), Jeff (Pooler), Dante (Stills). We’ve received Jordan Jefferson. We’ve received Tavis Lee. We’ve received an entire bunch of individuals. Simply be prepared. It will be a present.”
Stills leaves WVU with one remorse. He by no means needed to alternative to line up on offense and discover the top zone.
“I instructed Coach Brown all through the entire season, I stated, ‘Hey, whether it is aim line, I’ll run the ball in and rating. I promise you. He laughed about it however I used to be useless severe.”