Antone Exum to put off comeback

Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum has put his comeback attempt on hold.

Exum will not play Saturday against North Carolina despite being medically cleared to return to the field from a torn ACL, sustained in January during a pickup basketball game.

He returned to full contact practice this week but still needs time to get into game shape, he said in a statement released Friday. There is no timetable for when he will play in a game.

"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," Exum said the statement. "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."

Without Exum, Virginia Tech has relied on Brandon Facyson, who has emerged as one of the best true freshmen in the nation. Facyson is tied for the national lead with four interceptions on the season.

Earlier in the week, coach Frank Beamer said Facyson would start cross training at receiver in preparation for Exum's return, in order to maximize both players' talent. It appears that plan is now on hold as well.