West Virginia Gains 13th Verbal Commitment To 2017 Class, Picks Up Second Defensive Lineman

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia picked up a second in-state commitment when Fairmont Senior defensive end Darius Stills flipped from Rutgers to the Mountaineers on Monday. Here's a look at some analysis and insights on his play.


Stills has a solid, 6-2, 268-pound frame around which to chisel muscle. The son of former WVU linebacker Gary Stills, Darius has matched his father's height and already possesses an additional 30 pounds on Gary's 235-pound playing weight. And while some of that will be rearranged by West Virginia's strength and conditioning staff, there's no question the body is built to play at the FBS level.

Stills has shown solid power coming off the line - with an especially effective rip move - and typically has taken good angles in both collapsing the pocket and pressuring opposing quarterbacks. He uses his size - Stills was bigger than most of his foes at FSHS' Class AA level - to finish plays and shows physicality at the point of attack. Stills doesn't simply tackle ball carriers; he pancakes them at times. That won't translate easily to the Power Five level, but as long as Stills can get into the body of backs, he can use his size and developing strength to secure the stop.

The end also has a knack of knifing between offensive lineman and blowing up plays in the backfield. He creates negative yardage situations, and forces backs to run parallel to the line, allowing others to get into pursuit. Stills thrived in a three-down look for the Polar Bears, but could also slide inside to add more interior leverage against power sets. Darius is a high motor player who continually attacks and shows good instinctual feel for the game, and a constant aggressive, finish-the-play nature that will suit him well at the next level.


While there will always be questions about the caliber of competition, Stills would seem to have the base foundation upon which to build a solid major collegiate lineman. He needs more explosion and quickness off the snap, and to better utilize some of his weight. That will come with two years in a collegiate training program, and should compliment his knowledge and understanding of the game and situations.


Stills also tends to become too vertical immediately after the snap, losing his leverage and exposing himself to being moved by the offensive line. His pad level when engaged will have to drop in order for him to hold his own versus Big 12 trench players, and his ability to further develop quickness to compliment the power moves will give him a more well-rounded game. Stills' technique also needs to be honed, as he will at times get into the body of opposing players, then rely simply on being able to overpower them. That worked fine at the small-school level, but won't be nearly as effective at WVU. That's an issue for most young players, especially ones which have largely dominated competition. It's easy to fall back onto the pure strength facets, and though Stills hasn't done that often, it happens at times.


This is a solid pick-up for West Virginia in terms of potential. Stills has the pedigree, frame, and understanding of the nuances of play to provide a very wide and well-built foundation. It's clear from film that his instincts are good, and that he comprehends angles of attack while also possessing a naturally aggressive nature on the field. At his position, Stills won't be expected to contribute early, even with WVU losing three seniors after this season.

That will give him the time to add the skills and quick-twitch needed at end, and progress on technique and following his initial contact and impact with other prowess which will allow him to defeat opposing Power Five linemen. Under the tutelage of position coach Bruce Tall, Stills frankly should become a steady player. After that, it'll be all about his development on the field - and in the film and weight rooms - as to what his ceiling becomes.

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