E.J. Savannah update

THE THIRD BEST OVERALL prospect in the Northwest is linebacker <b>E.J. Savannah</b>. The tackling machine talked to Cougfan.com about which schools are recruiting him the hardest and how his team is faring in its quest to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive state title.

You wouldn't know it looking at the final scores, or even reading the box scores, but top ranked Bellevue (8-0) wasn't firing on all cylinders the last few weeks according to linebacker E.J. Savannah.

Despite winning by margins of 17, 37 and 41 and holding the last two opponents to 10 points or less, Savannah said Bellevue was making a few too many of those little mistakes.

Last Friday against Issaquah, the Wolverines put it all together, crushing the Eagles 58-7 and dominating the game from start to finish.

"I think last week we brought our A-game," said Savannah. "I felt the previous couple weeks or so we weren't playing up to the level we should have been playing, but (against Issaquah) we really played our game, just in time for the playoffs. I think (we played) almost as well as we can.

Good thing, too. Issaquah brought a 20-game conference win streak into the contest and was the last team to beat Bellevue, in a regular season match up last season.

More importantly, had Bellevue not won that game against the Eagles, despite being 8-0, despite being ranked the 10th best team in the nation by USA Today, they would not (incredibly) have made the state playoffs. Bellevue stepped up to the challenge, as did Savannah. Big time.

The hard hitting 'backer was everywhere on defense, tallying double digit tackles that included a sack for a safety. For good measure, the 6-1 225-pound standout picked off a pass in the third quarter, setting up the Wolverines' 59th and final point.

"I think I'm doing the best I can do. Our team is really doing well. I feel there's (probably not a whole lot more) I can do to help the team out because our team is doing so well right now."

SAVANNAH SAID BELLEVUE'S D-LINE has done a great job in handling their counterparts on offense, freeing up Savannah and the linebackers to get to the ballcarrier and make the stop. The tackling is what Savannah likes most.

"Our linemen hit the offensive linemen a lot, meaning the linebackers are freed up to go make the tackles. So what I like is just really laying the hits on the running backs. Honestly, I think (what I like best) is just the hitting."

Savannah is averaging in the double digits in tackles per game this season.

"I consistently have more than ten tackles a game. In one game I had seventeen, in another game I had thirteen. And then fifteen in another game, I honestly don't know (the number of total tackles) though."

ON THE RECRUITING FRONT, Savannah took an official visit to Arizona back in September and is waiting until after the season to decide on setting up any other official visits. Savannah holds a slew of offers from Pac-10 schools, including Washington State. The schools recruiting him the hardest right now are 'Zona, Cal and Oregon.

So are those three schools his favorites?

"Not necessarily. Honestly, I'm still open. But they're the ones that are recruiting me the hardest."

Is Washington State actively recruiting the defensive star?

"Oh, you know, they actually are recruiting me pretty hard too. I get letters a lot from them but I think those other three are recruiting me the hardest right now."

IMPORTANT TO SAVANNAH in choosing a college is one with a solid educational support program in place, its one of the questions he hopes to have answered when he gets around to taking his visits. He mentioned with the distractions that can happen in college, as well as all the time a football player puts in on the game year-round, a solid support program in place would be a good tool to utilize.

"Some schools have tutoring and everything to help you..because there are a lot of distractions and (time commitments ). I think it would be a good thing to take advantage of.."

From a football standpoint, Savannah is looking for a good football program. He also wants to be part of a strong recruiting class.

"I want to go to a college that wins because I want to win a bowl game. That's one of my goals in college... And one that's going to have a good class, my class, that's recruited. And a school that's going to do well in the (next few years)."

NEXT UP for Savannah and the Wolverines is their regular season finale against Newport this Friday. After that, Bellevue heads into the postseason with designs on the ultimate goal, one that has defined this team from the start -- a fourth consecutive state title.

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