Family Fuels Taquan ‘Smoke’ Mizzell’s Drive To Succeed

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Taquan "Smoke" Mizzell is on the Chicago Bears practice squad.
Taquan “Smoke” Mizzell became a father this year and it added fuel to his fire. ~ Photo courtesy Taquan Mizzell

Eight years ago, a 16-year old Taquan ‘Smoke’ Mizzell sat in a Virginia Beach tattoo parlor, waiting on a local artist. His mother lingered in the lobby area as her first name, ‘Dyshell’, was permanently inked onto the skin just below her son’s right shoulder. Resting inside a set of praying hands, Smoke wanted the dark script to serve as a reminder of his purpose – a reminder of the woman who struggled so Mizzell could succeed and of the Lord they both live to serve.

Her name is almost swallowed up by the hands that surround it, the tribute is subtle but the meaning is clear. Now resting just above her name on Smoke’s shoulder is a more unmistakable homage to his mother: a portrait of her face. The piece is a beautifully unabashed embodiment of his love for her. “That woman gave me everything, she deserves more than just a tattoo or two,” her son says.

She also gave him a directive: graduate from college. With recruiting buzz already beginning around the young running back, he knew he’d be able to accomplish that for her.

Five years later, a 21-year-old Smoke sat in a Charlottesville