After an off-season of wondering when it would happen, senior cornerback Antone Exum was medically cleared to play three weeks ago before Virginia Tech's home game against Duke.
At first, Exum, who tore his ACL and meniscus in January, was thrilled and touted his return on Twitter. Only days later, Exum released a statement that he wasn't ready and has been that way since.
This week, it appears Exum's long-awaited return has arrived. He still isn't saying for sure that he'll be back, but all indications are that Exum will at least see the field when the Hokies host Duke Saturday.
"I don't wanna give a clear answer until I'm actually out there because we know how that's gone in the past," Exum said today. "But that's the plan, for me to play this week. That's how I'm preparing, to be the starting corner on Saturday."
Exum has now had two games and a bye week since being cleared and appears to have regained much of what he lost, as far as speed and movement. There's still a little bit of rust, but that will come with time.
The return might also bode even better for the Hokies, with the status of freshman cornerback Brandon Facyson now uncertain. Facyson suffered a concussion Sunday and was held out of practice today.
Exum quickly admits it's been tough watching even since he was deemed able to play. But the NFL Draft hopeful wanted to be in peak condition. He might not be to the condition he was last season, but he's inching closer.
"That week that I was cleared, I wasn't ready to play at a high level," Exum said. "I would've been ok to play, but I wouldn't have been able to do a lot of the things that I'm doing right now. I've definitely made strides and that's just come with continued hard work."