<strong> Taquan "Smoke" Mizzell
Position: Running Back
Hometown (School): Virginia Beach (Bayside)
Height/Weight: 5'10'' 183 lbs
Committed to Virginia: 8/21/12
Lead Recruiter: Chip West </strong>
Taquan "Smoke" Mizzell is the highest rated member of Virginia's 2013 class, and their first Rivals 5-star since Eugene Monroe in 2005. (Eli Harold was a 5-star on 247Sports a year ago.) Mizzell chose Virginia over his two other finalists, North Carolina and West Virginia. Mizzell is one of the best overall players in the nation, and an Army All-American. Smoke's commitment to UVa marks the fourth consecutive year that a player from Bayside High has joined the Virginia program (Henry Coley, Demetrious Nicholson and Anthony Cooper preceded him).
Mizzell's talent is very easy to recognize on film. In addition to having good speed, Smoke has fantastic feet, making cuts on a dime. His ability to stop and star seperates him from other elite players at the running back position. Over the summer in 7 on 7 play, Mizzell was unguardable as a pass-catcher out of the backfield He lit it up at every event he attended, helping him earn his high rankings. At Virginia, Mizzell will be able to come in and make an immediate impact on special teams as well as offense, as he has a great chance to take over punt return duties. His offensive role will probably be as a backup running back, taking some carries and getting some passes out of the backfield. Steve Fairchild could also look to line up Smoke in the slot, and make him a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.
Mizzell is the easily the most dynamic athlete that Mike London has signed since he took over at Virginia. Mizzell is one of those players like C.J. Spiller or Percy Harvin that can change games with explosive plays for touchdowns. Many of the "757" players are really close, and Taquan's relationships with them were big in his recruitment. Expect these type of trends to continue. Expect Smoke to come in from day one and make a major impact on offense, and probably have an excellent career at Virginia.
Taquan Mizzell Senior Highlight Tape (via Quin Blanding)