Antone Exum, James Gayle Set To Return For Senior Year

by JustinC on January 10, 2013 · 8 comments

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  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Antone Exum, James Gayle Set To Return For Senior Year
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Antone Exum, James Gayle Set To Return For Senior Year
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Antone Exum, James Gayle Set To Return For Senior Year
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Antone Exum, James Gayle Set To Return For Senior Year

jgayle Antone Exum, James Gayle Set To Return For Senior YearWithin 24 hours of each other, cornerback Antone Exum and defensive end James Gayle have both announced that they will return for their senior year.  If you followed both players this season, this news should come as no surprise.  Gayle didn’t quite have the follow up season he was looking for after breaking onto the scene back in 2011 as a sophomore.  Exum switched to cornerback, a position he hadn’t played since high school, and it took a few games for him to adjust.  Needless to say, both guys will benefit from another in the program.

Now, what does this do to our defense?  Well, the Hokies will enter 2013 with 10 starters back.  The entire defensive line returns minus Antoine Hopkins, who graduated.  The linebacking corps will return two previous starters in Tariq Edwards and Jack Tyler.  Ronny Vandyke will be the new man at WHIP.  Lastly, our secondary will return all four starters from this past season.  That folks, is going to be one experienced defense. 

To put this in an easier to read chart form:

STUD: Gayle (Sr), Wilson (Jr), Nicolas (So)

DT: Hopkins (Sr), Harley (So)

DT: Maddy (Jr), Williams (Fr)

END: Marshall (Jr), Collins (Sr), Roth (So)

Backer: Edwards (Sr), Clarke (Fr)

MIKE: Tyler (Sr), Williams (Jr)

WHIP: Vandyke (So), McKinnon (Fr)

BCB: Exum (Sr), Manning (So), Greene

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FCB: Fuller (Sr), Riley (So), Tookes (Fr)

FS: Bonner (Jr), Fry (So)

ROV: Jarrett (Jr), Cole (So)

Of course, some of our younger players will have a chance to impress.  True freshmen Ken Ekanem, Alston Smith, and Jarontay Jones all redshirted last season on the defensive line.  Devin Vandyke redshirted and will have a chance to impress the coaches at MIKE.  Then Davion Tookes, Der’Woun Greene, and Donovan Riley will look to take the next step forward this spring in the secondary as well.

That chart doesn’t even include this 2013 class that will make it’s way to campus this summer. 

Overall, the Hokies are going to have one talented and experienced defense this fall.  If the offense can sort themselves out, the Hokies will have a good chance at beating everybody on their schedule, including Alabama. 

Logan Thomas Still Mulling A Decision

While Exum and Gayle have both decided, Logan Thomas remains quiet.  Obviously, this isn’t surprising since the Hokies haven’t named a new offensive coordinator yet.  Nor have they fired or released any of their current coaches.  But, I’m sure a lot of that is by design. 

There have been conflicting reports on what Tech’s quarterback is going to do.  My best guess is that Logan will return if the Hokies hire somebody who can turn him into a highly touted top pick in next year’s NFL draft.  Or, basically, anybody named Pep Hamilton.  That said, he only has five more days to decide so the clock is ticking on naming an offensive coordinator. 

It wouldn't shock me to see Thomas wait until the very last day to make a decision. 

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kyle Colvin January 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Another quality write-up. Just had a quick thought. What are your thoughts on RVD? I know he is one physical specimen but I thought he looked completely lost for most of the year. Obviously he’ll probably improve since he’s still young, but since the WHIP is so important for Bud are there any others capable of stepping in? Or perhaps Bud switches to a more nickel approach and roll with it?

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justinc January 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Go back and watch the bowl game. He was everywhere. Plus, you have to remember he’s a freshman so he’s going to make a few mental mistakes. The coaches are very high on him and with another full off-season to hone his skills, I think he can develop into a major playmaker next fall.

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VTShane January 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm

I concur with Justin…..when Bud says this kid reminds him of Kam Chancellor, that should be “nuff said”!

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Vhokie January 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Great info again Justin. One note…won’t Tyrel Wilson be a senior, like Gayle?

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justinc January 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Ahh, you’re right. Thanks for the heads up. I forgot to double check that with the hokiesports roster.

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VTnyc January 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm

What are you doing? Trying to get me amped up for the alabama game just like the last time they met in Atlanta? I’ll be there and once again I’m going to find the bar that was rented out by an alabama “sister” bar. Only this time it won’t be by accident.

Go Hokies!

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Vhokie January 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I was in Atlanta for that game also….my In-laws are DIEHARD Tide fans…I spent the week before the game on vacation on the Alabama gulf coast…All I heard all week was crap about the tide. Freakin lifesize cardboard cutouts of Saban in the 7-11…OMG!!! I absolutely HATE Alabama. I would actually be able to live with it if we beat the Tide and then lost the next 11 games.

I want this game SO BAD!….Lets harken back to the 1998 Music City Bowl, when the Hokies CRUSHED the Tide 38-7…GO HOKIES!!

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Tyler January 10, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Just saw on the forum where David Teel tweeted something about from his sources Pep won’t be the next OC at Tech. Any truth to this?? Not to say it isn’t true but is he a legit source for this sorta thing?

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