Taquan Mizzell gave
Mizzell, a 5-foot-10, 183-pound senior running back at Bayside High in Virginia Beach, announced his decision to attend U.Va. in a news conference at the school. He's considered by most recruiting analysts to be one of the nation's top 30 running backs.
In addition to U.Va., his final decision came down to scholarship offers from West Virginia and North Carolina. He had nearly 20 offers overall. He'd long been considered a heavy lean to U.Va., which had cornerbacks coach and Kecoughtan High graduate Chip West head up his recruitment.
"My relationship with (U.Va.) coach (Mike) London made it a great fit for me, and there's the fact I know I can get a great education there," Mizzell said to the Daily Press. "I've known for a while I liked it there, but I just had to go through the process to make sure this is what I wanted."
MIzzell is U.Va.'s 18th commitment, and first running back pledge, for the '13 class. Feb. 6 is the first day recruits can sign a letter of intent.
Last season, he sprained his ankle in Bayside's third game and never fully recovered during the fall, but he still finished with 1,098 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. He took a big step forward in recruiting rankings with strong performances during the spring and summer at various elite camps and 7-on-7 competitions.
Rivals.com recruiting website rewarded him Monday by elevating him from 4-star status to coveted 5-star distinction. He's one of only four running backs in the class of '13 with a 5-star rating, and one of just 22 players total.
Rivals.com keeps public archives and rankings of recruiting classes on its website dating back to '02. In the past 10 years, U.Va. has had four 5-star signees, the most recent of which was offensive tackle Eugene Monroe in '05. If Mizzell signs in February, he'll be U.Va.'s fifth 5-star signee.
In '02, U.Va. signed three 5-star players - linebacker Ahmad Brooks, running back Michael Johnson from Heritage High and linebacker Kai Parham. Brooks signed again in '03 after going to Hargrave Military Academy.