Dante Stills played soccer as a kid. He didn’t really know much about football until he attended a practice and a coach asked him would he like to try it out.
He agreed and he got his start in flag football and he has come a long way.
“…My love for the game is strong. I’ve loved it since I first started. I’ve just got a good relationship with all of [my] teammates and I’ve grown up with them a lot so I have a good relationship with my teammates and with football.”
The six-foot-four, 265 pound, defensive tackle for the Fairmont Senior High School Polar Bears, said that he looks to everyone on his team for leadership, including his brother, three-star senior defensive tackle and West Virginia commit Darius Stills.
“My brother. If he’s on, definitely I’m on, if he gets excited, I’m excited. Everybody on my team, I look forward to learning from every person on my team. If I’m doing something wrong, I’m hoping a coach or a player would tell me I should do this better or I should do this like this… I look to everybody if there’s anything I need to work on but a big part is my big brother,” Dante Stills said.
He calls Fairmont, West Virginia home and mentioned a negative outlook that is associated with his city.
“It’s a small town but I want to represent my city and my state really [well] and I’ll never forget where I grew up. This is where I grew up and if you’re from around here, you’re not going to make it big. I say that’s negative because I’m going to make it big and I’m going to try and make it out of here. Come back and take care of my family and stuff.”
As he said, he wants to take care of his family while also being the best person he can be on and off the field.
“…I’m just trying to be great. Get as far as I can with football but football always ends so I have to get a plan B in life. Right now, my life is football and I’ll only go as far as I can with that.”
In 2015, the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears went 11-3 (8-1 Region), losing in their semifinal matchup to Bridgeport High School / Bridgeport, West Virginia, 28-20. Stills recorded 64 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, eight sacks, one caused fumble, and one fumble recovery.
Dante Stills is a four-star defensive tackle in the 2018 class, the 28th best defensive tackle and the best player in West Virginia all according to the 247Sports Composite. He has a total of 10 scholarship offers from the following schools: West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Marshall, Rutgers, Louisville, North Carolina, Penn State, Wake Forest, and Vanderbilt.
“It’s been treating me good but I’m trying to take it slow and keep my recruitment open as long as possible. Right now, it’s starting to heat up since September 1 has passed. [Coaches] are starting to call about my cares. Michigan called [me] wanting to know how it was with school and stuff. Hopefully, I’ll start to get more offers in but right now. I’m just focused on school work and getting better [on the field],” he said about the recruiting process.
Right now each school is even on his list. He plans to make his commitment at the beginning of his senior year, a few games in and will narrow his list down to 10 or five schools the summer before.
“…Actually, I like all of the schools that offered me because I just have been honored to get offered scholarships,” he said.
He believes he can bring a positive attitude and determination to a university. He’s a hard worker who always tries to make people happy and he takes his work in the classroom very seriously.
“…I’m not just the athlete that doesn’t go to class. I go to class, I take my time on tests, I learn, I focus and I’m determined to be the best,” he said.
Fairmont Senior head football coach J.L. Abbott said that Stills has improved by leaps and bounds in terms of growing into his body and getting more body control and more explosive. He also said that Stills’ length and flexibility in his hips are two things that will translate with him to the next level.
This year, Abbott said he wants to see Stills show more leadership and focus on offense and when his time at Fairmont Senior High School is done, he will miss Dante Stills because of his great attitude, smile and the way he cares for his teammates.
Dante Stills over time has gotten smarter about the way he plays the game but as off right now, he pointed out that he’s much stronger and faster than he was as a freshman or sophomore.
“Just being violent. At defensive line, you have to be one of the meanest people on the field. You have to do that by using your hands, be aggressive, be strong, quick, and stuff like that,” on what he enjoys most about playing on the defensive line.
Here is what he said he needs to work on to be a complete football player.
“Just get smarter about the game. I don’t want to go out there and not know the plays. I have to stay focused through my recruiting process, through football, everything. I have to be focused through all of it. Football is kind of a mental game. You have to be focused the whole time. If you get off topic, get off the game or look in the stands, you’re off your game so you have to stay focused the whole game.”
The Polar Bears suffered their first loss to Jefferson High School / Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia, 35-24. The Polar Bears are now 6-1 (4-0 Region) going into this week against Bridgeport / Bridgeport, West Virginia, whom they play Friday, October 28.
“Overcome losses.… When every team is down and their team loses and upset, you really have to bounce back and work hard that next week to get better and win the next game.”
Dante Stills doesn’t ever want to let his teammates down in any way, shape or form.
“My team are my brothers. … I want to give 110 percent every play and not regret anything. I want to win a state championship. I want to make my team happy. I don’t want to let them down at all. Let them down, let my coach down ad say I regret doing this or doing that,” he said. “I want to be satisfied. I’m never satisfied with the way I play, I always want to be better than the way I play but I don’t want to be like ‘awww I should’ve done this better,’ or ‘aww I should’ve [gone] 110 percent on this play but I didn’t.’”
The Fairmont Senior Polar Bears out of Fairmont, West Virginia, finished the 2016 season with a 10-3 (5-1 Region) record. The Polar Bears made it all the way to the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Division AA state championship game and lost to Mingo Central High School / Matewan, West Virginia, 32-7.
Dante Stills and his brother Darius Stills were named First Team All-State selections.