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Originally published Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Notebook | Huskies release linebacker E.J. Savannah from scholarship

The Washington career of linebacker E.J. Savannah is over after the former Bellevue High star was granted a release from his scholarship with the intent to transfer Tuesday evening.

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Washington career of linebacker E.J. Savannah is over after the former Bellevue High star was granted a release from his scholarship with the intent to transfer Tuesday evening.

Savannah apparently asked the school for his release. The school granted it on the condition that he not transfer to another Pac-10 school.

Savannah, who was the team's top tackler last season with 111, had not participated in any practices or games with the team this season while dealing with what coach Tyrone Willingham said was academic ineligibility. The coach also said there were other unspecified requirements Savannah would have to fulfill before being allowed back on the team.

Savannah had also been suspended for much of spring practice and afterward said the reason was not completely fulfilling offseason workout requirements.

"Our top priority is to help E.J. earn a college degree, whether that is at the University of Washington or at another institution," Willingham said in a statement. "I hope he is able to learn from his experience at Washington and become successful in whatever he chooses to do in life."

Savannah is a fourth-year junior and if he transfers to a Football Bowl Subdivision school he would have to sit out this year and have one season remaining.

Savannah helped lead Bellevue High to four straight state titles from 2001-2004. He signed as part of Willingham's first recruiting class at UW in 2005 along with another former Bellevue High star, J.R. Hasty. Hasty had academic problems and was suspended for part of spring practice. Hasty was released from his scholarship over the summer and has since transferred to Central Washington. It is unknown where Savannah may transfer, but Central Washington could be an option.

Bellevue High coach Butch Goncharoff said Tuesday night: "I like those kids and support those kids and I never had issues with them. That's nothing against anything there, but I'll always support them."


• UW President Mark Emmert said in an interview with The Associated Press that fans need to be patient with Willingham and the football program, especially in light of a schedule he described as "awful." Said Emmert, "They're working very, very hard to be successful and I support him because of that." He also said it could be "weeks" before a permanent athletic director is named, in part because he's being "picky."

• Willingham said again there was a chance RB Chris Polk could be out for the year with a dislocated shoulder.

• Kicker Ryan Perkins spoke to reporters for the first time since his PAT was blocked in the BYU game. Perkins said he didn't think the additional yards changed anything about the kick other than the fact that it might have allowed BYU to rush more defenders. "Essentially, it's still the same," he said. "It's still right down the middle, 35 yards. It's going to be the same kick."

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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