Washington linebacker E.J. Savannah's long-shot bid for a sixth year of eligibility has been denied by the NCAA, according to various reports.
That's a blow because Savannah almost certainly would have been a starter next year for a LB unit that already is losing its best player, Donald Butler.
Savannah's career was marred by injuries, academic issues and a falling out with former coach Tyrone Willingham, whose controversial handling of a suspension of Savannah probably was the issue that tripped up the bid for a sixth year.
Savannah was reinstated by new coach Steve Sarkisian and played in seven games last year, ranking sixth on the team with 43 tackles.
Underrated senior Mason Foster will lead the Huskies linebackers in 2010, while junior Cort Dennison, who replaced Savannah when he was hurt in 2009, also is a likely starter. But the competition for Butler's position inside figures to be fairly wide open this spring and into the fall.