Virginia Tech senior cornerback Antone Exum is expected to play for the first time this season Saturday against Duke.
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Exum (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) was considered perhaps the nation's best senior at his position before he suffered a torn ACL and a bone fracture in his right knee while playing pickup basketball in January. He had surgery in February and has been rehabilitating since. Exum was cleared to play Oct. 1, but he hasn't been comfortable enough with his knee to get on the field for a game. That should change this week.
Exum told the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch he isn't worried about how the injury might have affected his NFL draft status.
"The people at the next level haven't forgotten what I can do on the football field," he said. "They know what I'm capable of."
After playing safety in his first two seasons, Exum was moved to corner last fall and had 48 tackles, five interceptions, 16 pass breakups and two forced fumbles. When healthy, he is one of the most physical corners in the nation. Exum doesn't have elite speed, but he is fast enough to be effective in press coverage.
The Hokies are third nationally in pass defense, allowing 165.0 yards per game. They are tied for third in the nation in interceptions with 13 and have allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 48.0 percent of their passes. Through seven games, the Hokies have allowed just 95 completions (13.6 per game).