As part of our 2012 season review, we’re counting down the top 25 players in the ACC this season, from no. 25 to no. 1. Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus completely bulletproof, obviously — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.
We’ll start this profile off by expressing disappointment in Exum’s offseason injury, and hope he can come back in time for the 2013 regular season. Because if his 2012 season was any indication, he’ll certainly be a key piece of the Hokies’ success yet again. He led the country’s 24th-ranked passing defense to yet another impressive season, holding opponents to just 17 touchdowns through the air all year, while snagging 13 interceptions. Exum had five of those picks, and also led the ACC in passes defended, with 21 overall in his 13 games. More often than not, Exum was a lock-down presence for the Hokies — not an elite tackler, admittedly, but an extremely disruptive defender each and every game. His interceptions were key factors in victories over Boston College, Virginia and Rutgers, and admittedly, his stat line doesn’t even do his efforts justice in many other games. Who knows if he’ll be able to compete at the same elite level, but for the Hokies’ sake and his draft stock, he should hope he can come back at full strength.