The Virginia Cavaliers are looking to turn things around in a major way in 2014 after failing to win a single game in ACC play last season. The key to any turnaround will be finding some consistent playmakers, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. When looking at the roster, their best bets to carry the load offensively are at running back with the top returning rusher in the ACC, Kevin Parks, and potential breakout star sophomore Taquan Mizzell. If Mizzell can get on track this season, look for the Virginia running game to be a formidable force in 2014.
Mizzell was a highly touted freshman coming into the 2013 season but struggled to get on track early on. He finished the year appearing in 10 of 12 games, rushing for 184 yards and a touchdown on 45 carries. He also caught 29 passes for 164 yards and returned kicks as a freshman. Injuries played a major role in keeping Mizzell from reaching his lofty potential right away but he’s now 100 percent healthy and showed off his game-breaking speed on the track team this spring.
After a strong spring that had the coaching staff raving about his work ethic, Mizzell is looking to take the next step as a part of the Cavalier football team. While carries could be hard to come by on a consistent basis with the return of Parks (1,031 yards in 2013) and Khalek Shepherd (304 yards), but Mizzell has the home-run potential to make the most of his opportunities and play his way into more reps as the season goes on.
While Virginia enjoys plenty of experience at running back in 2014, they can use any spark they can get this fall. Taquan Mizzell has the potential to be that spark and become one of the most exciting players in the ACC this season. Will he be enough to make the Cavaliers competitive?