MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Ahead of his fifth and final season of college football, Dante Stills suited up for his final spring football game on Saturday.

His Gold team picked up a one-point win, and Stills recorded one official tackle.

Walking off the field at Milan Puskar Stadium that afternoon put a bow on his last spring practice with the Mountaineers.

“Yeah. It definitely did,” said Stills when asked if Saturday felt like his final spring game. “You know, afterwards I went and hugged my mom, my little brother. It definitely felt like my last one, for sure. It’s kind of sad. I just got to keep going.”

Stills has played a lot of football.

Dating back to his freshman year in 2018, the Fairmont native has appeared in 47 games with West Virginia. Provided he stays healthy for all of the 2022 season, he could strap on his shoulder pads for the 60th time if WVU qualifies for the postseason.

“I can still feel [the hits]. Especially, like, it was practice nine, ten. You really start to feel it on your body,” said Stills. “Your hands, your fingers start to hurt. your feet, your knees. So, I feel old, but I’m not.”

While technique, body size, and expectations have changed over the years, one thing has remained the same: the number he wears on his jersey.

Even before he was an Under Armor All-American at Fairmont Senior High School, Stills was rocking No. 55.

It’s the same number his father, Gary, wore as a standout for West Virginia.

“I love 55,” said Dante.

Recapping spring football and the 2022 Gold-Blue Game The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast

The 2022 Gold-Blue Game is in the books, bringing spring football to a close for WVU. On this edition of The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast, presented by Pritt & Spano, Nick Farrell and Anjelica Trinone share their takeaways from the spring game, including their assessment of the team’s quarterbacks and offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s new scheme.  Subscribe on your preferred podcast platform to have future episodes delivered to you.

Whenever Stills’ collegiate career comes to an end, possibly after having set the program record for career tackles for loss, another player will get to wear the number 55 jersey for WVU.

“It’s great for someone to wear 55. I want to see everyone [in] 55,” he said.

That player might not even be on this season’s roster. The number has already been used on at least one recruiting visit, which is something that excites the standout defensive lineman.

“Afterwards [a recruit] came up to me and talked to me, he was like ‘I was the guy in the number 55 jersey,'” Stills said. “I just think that’s cool to me. I mean, I really don’t have a lot of words to describe it. Overall, I just feel like the next generation is going to be on its way.”

Consistently running toward the football has been the main thing that Stills has worked on this spring.

He enters the 2022 campaign just two tackles for loss shy of tying WVU Sports Hall of Famer Grant Wiley for second place on the all-time list. Three more after that, and he would tie Julian Miller for the most stops behind the line of scrimmage in a single career.

Currently tied for sixth on the program’s all-time sacks leaderboard, Stills can continue to climb those ranks by always running to the football.