For most upcoming high school seniors with dreams of continuing their football career at the college level, the summer is spent at different football camps held by FBS programs. These camps allow the coaching staff at the hosting school, and sometimes select coaches from nearby programs, to get a glimpse of the recruitable talent in a controlled environment. Nearly every Division I program holds these camps, but none of them have anywhere near the concentration of talent that Nike’s The Opening sees on a yearly basis.
The Opening is the premier recruiting camp with numerous individual regional camps throughout the spring, culminating with The Opening Finals during the summer. The Opening Finals kick off today at Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, and this year 166 of the country’s top recruits will be featured. To score an invitation to The Opening Finals recruits must qualify by attending and be a top performer in one of the regional camps.
One of the featured prospects this weekend is Fairmont Senior defensive lineman Dante Stills. Stills turned in an outstanding performance at The Opening Regional in Charlotte, North Carolina last month, punching his ticket for the all-expenses paid trip to Oregon. Stills will be participating in the Nike Football Rating Championship, which is The Opening equivalent of the NFL Combine, and will compete in the lineman challenge, where he will go 1-on-1 against the country’s top offensive linemen.
Stills is rated as a four-star prospect by the major recruiting services, and is considered one of the country’s top defensive line recruits. The Mountaineer legacy has not committed to any program at this time, and it isn’t a foregone conclusion that he’ll follow in his father and brother’s footsteps and stay at home in West Virginia.
Stills narrowed down his top schools earlier this month, announcing that he will only be focusing on West Virginia, Oklahoma and Florida moving forward. The Mountaineers are facing stiff competition from Florida, with former West Virginia running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider acting as Stills’ lead recruiter. Earlier this week, Stills tweeted a cryptic message that surely has some of the West Virginia recruitniks nervous.
Wherever I go for college is MY decision, no one else , if you don't respect it then you don't respect me .— DANTE STILLS (@kinglamar222) June 27, 2017
Unlike in years past, The Opening Finals will not be televised on ESPNU, although Monday’s 7-on-7 championship will be shown on the NFL Network. For complete coverage of The Opening Finals, and to check on Stills’ performance this weekend, follow SB Nation’s live blog, and follow @SBNRecruiting on Twitter.