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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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March 22, 2009 9:57 PM

The top 10 Huskies --- Number Eight

Posted by Bob Condotta

This pick could look really good or really bad --- way too high or way too low --- depending on how the season plays out.

But at No, 8 on the list I have linebacker E.J. Savannah, who missed last season while ineligible/suspended/departed.

A year ago this time, Savannah looked to be one of the team's stars-in-the-making as he led the Huskies in tackles in 2007 with 111 and was named the KJR Player of the Year for defense.

Then he was suspended for part of the spring, apparently for missing some off-season workouts, and after returning for the end of spring drills, suffered a broken humerus bone in an off-field incident. He then was suspended for the start of fall camp, apparently mostly for academic reasons (Savannah insists he was eligible) before finally deciding a few weeks in to leave the team.

But rather than sign on to another school, he ultimately decided to wait and see what happened with the coaching situation here, and when Tyrone Willingham was fired and Steve Sarkisian hired, Savannah asked if he could return, and his request was granted. He'll be a fifth-year senior this season with one year of eligibility left.

Now the question is how he will fit in to the defense with all three of the primary starting LBs from last season returning --- Mason Foster (who last year played the same LB spot Savannah had the year before), Trenton Tuiasosopo and Donald Butler.

Does Savannah compete for his old spot? Or does new DC Nick Holt change things up a bit? My guess is there will be a bit of experimentation in the spring to sort it all out. USC used a 4-3 defense under Holt, but that doesn't preclude schemes that could use all four of those LBs fairly liberally.

As for Savannah, he said when he returned he'd added some weight (which he said was muscle) to his listed 228 --- word is he may be closer to 240 now.

Whatever the case, he was one of UW's top defensive playmakers --- he also had a team-high three fumble recoveries in 2007 and an interception --- before sitting out a year ago. If healthy, in shape, and motivated, it would seem there's a good chance he could pick up where he left off and again become one of the more valuable Husky players.

Number nine ---- TE Kavario Middleton
Number 10 --- DE Everrette Thompson.

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