The senior cornerback has decided not to dress for Saturday’s game against North Carolina, saying he wants to give his surgically repaired knee more time before going at game speed.
Exum was medically cleared to be a full participant at practice earlier this week after missing eight months because of surgery to repair the ACL, medial and lateral meniscus and a bone fracture in his right knee.
Antone Exum will not dress tomorrow per his own choice. Wants to give the knee a little more time before going full game speed. #Hokies— VT Football (@VT_Football) October 4, 2013
Although he took first team reps, it became clearer during the week that he might need more time. The Hokies said Thursday night, after Exum had three full practices, that freshman cornerback Brandon Facyson would start against North Carolina, adding that Exum would make spot appearances.
Exum probably took defensive coordinator Bud Foster‘s thoughts from earlier this week to heart.
“If he’s not 100 percent, I’m hoping he’d be man enough to tell me,” Foster said. “Because that’s the bottom line when it’s all said and done: we need everybody out there going 100 percent full speed and being at the best of their ability to go compete.”
The Hokies have a home game against Pittsburgh on Oct. 12 before they have their first bye week.
UPDATE: Exum released this statement Friday afternoon:
“This is something that I thought about and discussed thoroughly with my support team and we came to the conclusion that it’s not in my best interest right now to return. There are some fine tuning areas of my game that allow me to excel at a high level on the field that need to be worked on. It’s a decision we made for my present situation and for my future, and most importantly for the best interest of this team. There are no setbacks, there is no pain or any of that. This is just to put my best foot forward. To assure that when I step back on the field I can play at an extremely high level. I’m not putting dates on anything right now I’m just focusing on progressing each day and winning the small battles necessary for the victory of the war. I have the support of my parents and coaches and we are all in agreement with the plan to get me back on the field performing at a high level of play.”