Exum was named to the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award on Friday, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back. He was previously named to the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski, a defensive player of the year award.
Exum, who earned second-team All-ACC honors in his first year at cornerback in 2012, is still on the mend from surgery to repair the ACL, lateral and medial meniscus and a bone fracture in his right knee.
He told Frank Beamer‘s website recently that he’s about “65 percent” healthy after rehabbing this offseason at Fischer Sports Physical Therapy & Conditioning in Phoenix. He hopes to be back for the opener against Alabama but is unsure if that’s realistic.
“When I’m ready, I’ll know it,” he told the site.
Exum is one of four ACC defensive backs on the Thorpe Award watch list, joining North Carolina’s Tre Boston, Duke’s Ross Cockrell and Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner.
Here are other Hokies who have made previous watch lists: