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Finally, we’ve reached day one of our 99 day countdown, which means today is #BeatBama Eve. We will celebrate #BeatBama Eve by talking about one player who, unfortunately, will not participate in Operation #BeatBama. Antone Exum suffered a major knee injury playing pickup basketball in February. He has since undergone surgery and is currently in month six of his rehab. As it stands, Exum will be lucky to return against Georgia Tech in September. I think even that may be pushing it. This injury is a tough blow, not only to our secondary but also to Exum who was blossoming into a good cornerback by the end of last season.
Weight: 220 lbs
High School: Deep Run High School
Location: Glen Allen, VA
High School Career
Exum’s high school career seems like so long ago now that he’s a fifth year senior. During his final season, Exum accounted for 2,357 yards and 30 touchdowns, including six on returns. That effort led to many All-District and All-Region selections by various media outlets.
Despite only being listed as a three star, Exum had an impressive offer list. He Richmond native held scholarship offers from Virginia Tech, UCONN, Duke, Louisville, Maryland, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, South Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia, Wake Forest, and West Virginia. Exum committed to the Hokies just after Christmas on December 28th, 2008.
Reasons For Excitement
Will Provide Depth During ACC Run: Exum will need some time to get back into shape, which means just because he’s set to return against say Georgia Tech, he won’t be the Exum of last season immediately. In fact, I don’t think we’re going to see the Exum of last season at all this year. ACL’s are tough injuries to overcome physically but their also tough injuries to overcome mentally. As it stands, Exum should get back into physical shape by the last four or five games on Tech’s schedule. Having him available for Duke, Miami, and Maryland will be helpful.
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Causes For Concern
Mental Recovery: There’s little doubt in my mind that Exum’s ACL will be healed fully when he returns to the field. The downside is can he recover mentally once he starts having to make cuts again. When you can do that without thinking about your knee is when you’ve fully recovered from an injury. However, that takes time.
What to Expect in 2013
With Georgia Tech being the earliest Exum could return, that will leave 10 games on the schedule that he could play in. That’s still a good chunk of the season. But, it will come down to how effective Exum can be. If he can get himself in shape and show trust that his knee will hold up when he plants his foot to turn to run with a receiver then Exum may overtake Brandon Facyson as the starter. If not, the Hokies may use Exum sparingly until he shows that ability.
The good news is just having Exum back will help with depth, especially if there’s an injury. Having two capable field corners is a lot better than having none.
Exum suffered an ACL injury at the worst possible time. Suffering at the end of last season would have allowed him to start practice this week. But, when you have an off-season injury it puts the upcoming season at risk and that’s what happened here. Exum is a great kid and a great Hokie and I wish him a speedy recovery from this injury. Hopefully, Exum can return to his daycare service by the time ACC play rolls around.
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