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UCLA: Safety E.J. Woods no longer a Bruin, will transfer to Santa Monica College

July 2, 2009 |  1:53 pm


UCLA announced today that safety E.J. Woods is no longer part of the team.

Woods, a 19-year-old from Encino Crespi High, said in a telephone interview today that he will transfer to Santa Monica College, enrolling this afternoon, with intentions to be there through December before attempting to enroll in another four-year university in the Pac-10 to play football next season.

Woods said he will not try to rejoin the UCLA football team.

“I wouldn’t come back [to UCLA],” Woods said. “I’m definitely going to try to come back to the Pac-10. I’m going to work extremely hard this year in junior college to get better physically, get better mentally and just to mature a little bit, and then go back to a four-year, finish my time there and then go to the NFL. That’s the plan.”

When asked which Pac-10 schools he was considering, the only one he mentioned was USC. When asked why he was interested in the Trojans, he said their defensive style of play suited him better.

“I’m more in-the-box, coming off the edge, playing like … Troy Polamalu.” Polamalu is a former Trojan and current Pittsburgh Steelers safety.

Currently, Woods is facing six charges of battery and sexual battery stemming from three incidents at off-campus apartments between October and January, said a spokesman in the the Los Angeles city attorney’s office. Woods' pre-trial hearing will be held on July 31, the spokesman added. 

Of his decision to leave the Bruins, Woods said, “It has nothing to do with UCLA’s program. UCLA is a great, great, great program, an upcoming program. They’re going to shock a lot of people this year.

“I just felt like just wasn’t a fit for me. I told [UCLA head football coach Rick] Neuheisel that and he understood and that’s why he let me do my thing.”

-- Baxter Holmes

Photo: Crespi's E.J. Woods gets a first down against Long Beach Poly in the first half in the Pac-5 Division championship football game at the Home Depot Center on December 8,2007. Photo credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times.