Some great news for West Virginia’s defense in 2020: the Mountaineers return their two most productive players on the defensive line.
It just so happens that those two guys might be the most popular pair of brothers in the state.
Fairmont natives Darius and Dante Stills are entering what will be their final season together in the old gold and blue.
Darius has already been tabbed as the Big 12’s preseason defensive player of the year. In 2019, he produced a team-high 14.5 tackles for loss and was West Virginia’s co-leader in sacks with seven. Those numbers earned him first team All-Big 12 recognition.
Dante also recorded seven sacks in 2019, good for first on the team and second in the conference.
WVU also returns several other talented starters on the defensive line, and will add some promising newcomers. Here’s a breakdown of who you could see on the field at this position this fall:
- Senior from Fairmont, West Virginia
- 6-1, 282 lbs
- All-Big 12 first team last season and the league’s current preseason defensive player of the year. Stills led WVU in tackles for loss and sacks last season.
- Junior from Fairmont, West Virginia
- 6-3, 275 lbs
- Tied for the team lead in sacks in 2019, finishing tied for second in the Big 12 in that category.
- Redshirt Junior from Lumberton, North Carolina
- 6-4, 250 lbs
- Talented defensive lineman who had his 2019 season cut short by a season-ending injury in week two vs. Missouri; recorded a sack vs. James Madison.
Jeffery Pooler Jr.
- Redshirt Senior from Dayton, Ohio
- 6-2, 258 lbs
- Made 12 appearances and seven starts in 2019, he will move to bandit this season.
- Sophomore from Navarre, Florida
- 6-2, 301 lbs
- Started once in 2019, adds depth at nose tackle.
Other returners: Tavis Lee (r-So.), Josh Ritchie (r-So.), Rhett Heston (r-Fr.), Caydan Keeler (r-Fr.), Jalen Thornton (r-Fr.)
Newcomers: WVU has added two new defensive linemen via the transfer portal: Joseph Boletepeli, an incoming transfer from North Carolina State, and Bryce Brand, an incoming transfer from Maryland. Neal Brown also added several more defensive linemen in his first signing class: West Virginia native Sean Martin and Florida native Quay Mays have been added to the WVU roster, while Akheem Mesidor is not yet listed. Bandits Lanell Carr and Taurus Simmons also appear now on the WVU roster.
Departures: Reese Donahue (33 career starts), Reuben Jones (8), Quondarius Qualls (7)