By USA TODAY High School Sports | May 10, 2017 9:39 am ET
Four-star defensive tackle Dante Stills earned an invitation to The Opening Finals with his performance at the regional Sunday in Charlotte.
Stills is the top-ranked recruit in the Class of 2018 from the state of West Virginia and is the first player from the state to reach The Opening Finals in several years.
“I’m just trying to represent my town and state the best I can,” said Stills, who attends Fairmont High. “By doing this, a lot of kids have looked up to me and it’s an honor to receive an invitation to compete with the best high school athletes.”
Stills, who is 6-4 and 265 pounds, was named the defensive line MVP in Charlotte. He already has 20 reported offers with West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Florida among his most ardent pursuers.
Stills has quickness off the ball and can get to the quarterback.
As for his goals when he competes in Oregon beginning June 30 at the Finals, “get better and do my thing in Oregon,” he said. “I’m getting stronger and getting faster off the ball and using my hands more.”
Fairmont is coming off a 10-3 season in which it rebounded from consecutive losses at midseason to reach the state Class AA final. That included a 22-21 double-overtime victory in the semifinals against three-time state champion Bridgeport that snapped Bridgeport’s 38-game unbeaten streak.
The season ended, though, with a 32-7 loss to Mingo Central (Matewan) in the final.
“My expectations (for next season) are to win a state championship,” he said. “After losing last year in the championship, I’m even more hungry for a title.”
That could be bad news for quarterbacks in West Virginia.