Virginia Tech CB Antone Exum to miss opener vs. Alabama

Virginia Tech senior CB Antone Exum suffered a horrific injury to his right knee while playing pickup basketball in January -- tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, tearing lateral and medial menisci and breaking a bone -- and to no one's surprise, it was announced that he would miss the opening game.

Team officials are hopeful he can return by late September.

When healthy, Exum (6-feet-1, 220 pounds) is one of the most physical corners in the nation. He had 48 tackles, five interceptions, 16 pass breakups and two forced fumbles last fall while playing corner for the first time after a move from safety.

Sophomore Donaldven Manning (5-10, 181) and true freshman Brandon Facyson (6-2, 188) are battling for Exum's starting job. Manning, from powerhouse Miami Central High, played in eight games as a true freshman last season and had four tackles and an interception. Facyson, from the Atlanta area, graduated high school in December, enrolled at Tech in January and had a strong spring practice.

Highly touted true freshman Kyle Fuller is expected to see a lot of time, too, at nickelback; he was a consensus pick as one of the nation's top five corners in the 2013 recruiting class.

Virginia Tech coaches also announced that redshirt freshman Joel Caleb (6-2, 205) has been moved to tailback from wide receiver. The Hokies are extremely thin at both positions. Caleb was a quarterback and cornerback in high school.

And coaches also have moved senior Andrew Miller from center, where he started the past two seasons, to guard. Miller had been considered one of the best centers in the league. That means that the Hokies technically will have an all-new starting offensive line in their opener against Alabama on Aug. 31 in Atlanta.

Follow Mike Huguenin on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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