Savannah set to return

Dawgman.com was able to reach former Washington linebacker E.J. Savannah Wednesday, and he told us that he spoke to new UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian Monday and was given the green light to return to the team when school starts back up January 2nd.

"Well I knew I was not going to play this year and have been working and waiting to see what was going on with the whole coaching staff issue," Savannah said. "This year was killing me watching from home every game, but its made me hungrier. I've been doing this since I was 10 years old and it was killing me. I would sit at home and watch or work out and work while my guys were working on the field."

"I had a feeling he was (going to let me back), but that affirmation was great."

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times confirmed Savannah's return through Sarkisian.

"He'll be back in January,'' Sarkisian told Condotta. "We'll give him another opportunity."

"I introduced myself and he said he knew who I was because he remembered scheming for me," Savannah said, also saying that he talked to Sarkisian with D'Andre Goodwin. "It was just a brief conversation. It was just a chance to introduce myself and establish a relationship with the new coach.

"Coach Sarkisian is bringing a fresh energy. He's young and energetic and positive. Everything is looking up right now."

Savannah was given his release from his football scholarship in September amidst circumstances that were never made completely clear by then-head coach Tyrone Willingham. He did say Savannah was academically ineligible, but that there were other things he needed to take care of before he was allowed back on the team.

"I'm not going to talk bad about any coaches but I do feel the same way (as I did)," Savannah said when asked to comment about asking for his release. "I can say that I'm eligible and I was eligible this season. I've been working out every day and just working because I'm not on scholarship. I've just tried to stay focused and do everything I can. I was doing everything I needed to get done; it was just going nowhere."

There were a few schools Savannah was rumored to have talked to about a transfer, including UCLA and Boise State, but he decided to wait things out while it became clearer and clearer that the staff at Washington would not be around in 2009. "I came close, but there's nowhere I'd rather be than U-Dub," he said.

"And from the players that I talk to, the majority concensus is that they want me back and could've used me (this season)," Savannah said. But I got to meet with the new coach (Steve Sarkisian) and all I am is excited for the opportunity to play football again and can't wait for this next season to get started.

"He (Sarkisian) didn't really tell me I was back with the team until the end of the conversation. I asked him when I would be back with the team, and he asked me when do I start school. I told him January 2nd, and he said, 'You're back on the team January 2nd.'"

Sarkisian made it clear during his initial press conference Monday that all the members of the team were starting out on equal footing. He called it a 'clean slate'. "That's all I asked for, another opportunity. I won't fail. And he (Sarkisian) has given me that."

Savannah, who was Washington's leading tackler in 2007, is expected to bolster an already strong linebacking corps that will return Mason Foster, Donald Butler and Trenton Tuiasosopo if he decides to use his sixth year.

"I am not sure about how many years I have left, but I know I've got one; and if that's it, that's all I need," Savannah said. "I'm coming back with 15 pounds of muscle on me, so everyone get ready."


Dawgman.com Top Stories