MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (July 21, 2020) – West Virginia University football defensive linemen Darius and Dante Stills of Fairmont, West Virginia, were named to the Bronko Nagurski and Outland Trophy Watch Lists as announced today by the Football Writers Association of America.
The Outland Trophy, selected by the FWAA, is given to the top interior lineman in the nation. The Bronko Nagurski Award, selected by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club, is given to the top defensive player in the nation.
Darius, the 2020 Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and All-American third-team by Phil Steele, was recently named to Athlon Sports’, Lindy’s and Phil Steele’s All-Big 12 Conference First Teams, as well as the Lott Trophy Award watch list.
The 2019 All-Big 12 First Team honoree finished the 2019 season with 47 tackles, a team-leading 14.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, which tied for the team lead, and five quarterback hurries. He also had a forced fumble, two pass breakups and a blocked field goal. He tied for No. 2 in the Big 12 with his brother, Dante, in sacks and was No. 5 in the league in tackles for loss.
Darius finished with a season-best 10 tackles and three tackles for loss at Baylor. He also recorded six tackles against James Madison and five each at Kansas State and TCU. He posted two sacks at Missouri and had three tackles for loss against Texas and two at Missouri and against NC State.
Dante was named to the 2020 Street & Smith’s Preseason All-Big 12 First Team and Athlon Sports’ and Phil Steele’s second teams. The 2019 All-Big 12 Conference Second Team selection finished with 24 tackles, tied for a team-leading seven sacks with his brother, Darius, and was second on the team with 11.5 tackles for loss. He tied for No. 2 in the league in sacks and was No. 10 in tackles for loss.
He was named the defensive player of the week for the NC State game after finishing with three tackles, including two sacks in his first career start. He also had three tackles, including a career-high two sacks at Baylor, had two tackles, including one for loss at Kansas State and had three tackles at Missouri, including 1.5 tackles for loss.
On the Nagurski Award Watch List, there are 18 schools with teammates on the list and 15 players return from last season’s watch list.
Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. As in previous years, the FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday this season. If not already on the watch list, each week’s honored player will be added at that time. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
The winner of the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy presented by LendingTree as the National Defensive Player of the Year will be chosen from those five finalists. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s full membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski Trophy finalists. Committee members, by individual ballot, select the winner they regard as the best defensive player in college football.
This year’s watch list includes at least four players from all 10 FBS conferences plus three from the independents. The ACC led the conference list with 17 with the SEC (15) just behind, making up almost one-third of the list. The Pac-12 (13), Big 12 (12) and Big Ten (10) also have double-digit representation, followed by Conference USA (7), the American Athletic (6), Sun Belt (6), Mid-American (5), Mountain West (4) and Independents (3). The list includes 31 linebackers, 28 backs, 23 ends and 16 tackles.
On the Outland Trophy Watch List, West Virginia is the only team to have multiple defensive players. The Stills brothers are part of the Big 12’s six entries.
The recipient of the 75th Outland Trophy will be announced in early December. The official presentation to the winner will be made in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Outland Trophy Awards Dinner sponsored by Werner Enterprises and produced by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, scheduled for Jan. 13, 2021.
Watch list candidates may be added or removed during the season. The distribution of watch list candidates is spread well among the conferences – behind the 14 from the SEC and 12 from the Big Ten are the Pac-12 with 11 and the Atlantic Coast (9), followed by the Mountain West (7), Big 12 (6), the Independents (6), and the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American and Sun Belt with five each. The list includes 32 offensive tackles, 21 offensive guards, 17 defensive tackles and 15 centers.