When Fairmont (WV) defensive lineman Dante Stills made his way to Charlotte, North Carolina two weekends ago for The Opening Regional, he had one thing on his mind - get an invite to the Nike Opening Finals in Oregon this summer. Not only did the four-star prospect dominate the competition and earn recognition as one of the camp's top performers, but he received his coveted invite to July's elite showcase at Nike Headquarters.
The love for Stills has not just come from scouts, either. With the spring evaluation period kicking off last month, numerous top programs have swung by to see him in person - and the offers have followed.
"Some of my new offers are Georgia, Miami, Tennessee, Florida, and Michigan State," said Stills, who measured in at 6-foot-4 and 263 pounds in Charlotte. "Florida came by the school. Michigan State came by. Oklahoma came by. And so did Notre Dame, but they have not offered."
Of course, the first school to visit him this spring was also the first school to offer him - West Virginia. Mountaineer defensive coordinator Tony Gibson is taking the lead in Stills' recruitment, but he's far from the only one pushing the Mountaineers.
"He just tells me that he really wants me there and says I could play the next four years with my brother (Darius)," said Stills. "And my brother really wants me to go there. He thinks West Virginia is where my heart is. (Head Coach) Dana (Holgorsen) tells me he wants me to stay home, too."
The whispers in his ear about WVU extend further than that, even. Stills says "pretty much everybody in the state wants me to go to West Virginia." With the school being twenty minutes away from home, his brother enrolling next month, and his father, Gary, a legend, Stills admits "it's going to be hard to not (go there) with my brother and my dad going there."
That being said, Mountaineer fans should not consider this a shoe-in. Far from it. Stills says he will "for sure visit Oklahoma and Florida" this summer, and that he may swing by Georgia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, and a few others. He intends to visit West Virginia in July for the "Showtime" event, and will take all five of his official visits before announcing a college choice.
"I'm taking all five of my official visits in the first five weeks of the season, and then I'll make my decision," said Stills. "I'll decide in the middle or the end of the year."
Stills holds a four-star rating from Scout as the nation's No. 28 defensive tackle and top player in West Virginia.