Current Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan suited up for youth football in Irvine, Calif., in 1992. If Brennan throws even one touchdown pass today at Aloha Stadium, he will match the national single-season record of 54. Hawaii's best quarterback ever, he might decide to forgo his final season at UH next year and enter the NFL Draft if it looks as if he would be selected in the first or second rounds. CLICK FOR LARGE
Brennan writes UH history
Today's may be the last game here for the star quarterback
IF Colt Brennan got his way when he was a little kid in Irvine, Calif., he might never have become a quarterback.
"My first day of Pop Warner football I walked up ... and the head coach said, 'You're a quarterback. I can just see it right now.' And I did not want to play quarterback. I wanted to play running back or receiver, or anything but quarterback. I just never saw it as a fun position," he said, recalling 15 years ago, when he was 8. "But he insisted. 'You're a quarterback.' "
HAWAII VS. ARIZONA ST.
When: Today, 3 p.m.
Where: Aloha Stadium
Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM
Tickets: Call (808) 548-2695
Inside: Special supplement.
The next year, Brennan tried to switch to running back. The coach wouldn't let him.
It took four years for the youth football player, who would become the greatest quarterback in University of Hawaii history, to embrace the position.
He wanted to be a receiver, like his older cousins and uncles who played college football. "I would play catch with my dad, and tell him to throw me the worst possible passes so I could make diving catches," he said.
Terry Brennan remembers taking his only son to the beach and throwing passes to him in the surf, perfectly timed with the crashing waves.
"It was so much fun, he loved catching the ball," the father said.
But even one of Colt's best friends back then, Andy, knew his pal was destined to throw passes, not receive them.
"He was always kind of the quarterback kind of guy," Andy said. "I was the linebacker who beat up on Colt Brennan.
STAR-BULLETIN FILE PHOTO
Hawaii's Colt Brennan looks to throw against Louisiana Tech in the first quarter at Aloha Stadium.
"He always loved football. When we had a talent show, he'd always bring his football gear. Every single time. Even in kindergarten."
Every Christmas, Colt and his friends, Andy and Jay, would get football-related gifts, sometimes uniforms.
BRENNAN'S BODY OF WORK
Hawaii junior quarterback Colt Brennan has established himself as the best player at the position in school history. Here is a list of some of his honors and accomplishments:
» 6th in Heisman Trophy voting (most outstanding player in country)
» Third-team All-American, Associated Press
» Second-team All-American, Walter Camp
» Honorable Mention All-American, Sports Illustrated (si.com)
» Finalist, Davey O'Brien Quarterback Award
» Finalist, Walter Camp National Player of the Year Award
» Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year
» Winner, Sammy Baugh Trophy (best passer in nation)
» Finalist, Manning Award (best quarterback)
» Leads nation in total offense (410.8 yards per game), touchdown passes (53), passing efficiency (182.8 rating), points responsible for (26.8 per game), completion percentage (72.14) and total passing yards (4,990)
» Holder of 11 school records
» On track to graduate in fall 2007
"Usually the kid's stuff. But one Christmas our parents came through for us with real helmets and pads," Brennan said. "And we'd be out there banging every day. From kindergarten to sixth grade, we were just the football kids."
In one of those coincidences that make life great, Andy Howe and Colt Brennan are in today's Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, which could be the final college football game for both. Howe is a senior linebacker for the Arizona State Sun Devils. Brennan is just a junior, but he might leave UH for the NFL Draft after completing his season today with the best statistics of any quarterback in the country.
Brennan was sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting and was the Western Athletic Conference offensive player of the year. He has set numerous school records and leads the nation in six significant passing categories, and he helped the Warriors this fall to one of their most successful seasons. With one touchdown pass today, Brennan matches the national single-season record of 54.
Some scouts say Brennan would be picked in the first or second round of the draft. Brennan said he loves UH, but that would tempt him to leave Manoa a year early. "I love Hawaii, the season we had this year, the fun we had . I gotta make sure when this season's over I sit down and look at everything and I make the right decision for me and also the school.
"Who knows if it's going to be a tough decision? It might be real easy: 'I'm coming back, because they're not picking me in any of the first couple rounds.' You never know. ... I'll do all the things I need to do to figure out what's best."
STAR-BULLETIN FILE PHOTO
Hawaii's Colt Brennan, above, is congratulated by Purdue's Kory Sheets after a game at Aloha Stadium.
One factor for Brennan might be how much fun he is having -- which hasn't always been the case in his football career.
High school at Mater Dei was pressure-packed, and he was stuck behind future Heisman winner Matt Leinart. When he did get to play, he didn't perform as well as he'd hoped to and didn't get scholarship offers. He lost his confidence as a player.
"I thought that maybe I'm not that good," he said.
He went to a prep school in New England, and then walked on at Colorado. After a heavily documented dorm incident, he was kicked off the team and ended up at Saddleback, a junior college near his home, in 2004.
Then coach June Jones brought him to Hawaii, making him earn a scholarship by proving the Colorado problem was not an indication of his character.
STAR-BULLETIN FILE PHOTO
Brennan gets ready to throw the ball at the UH practice field.
It's a vast understatement to say Brennan has not let down Jones -- as well as his family and friends, UH football fans and, most importantly, himself.
The fan- and media-friendly Brennan has become the face of UH football, in Hawaii and nationally.
"He's handled everything from Day One," Jones said. "He's a leader, with all the intangible things that you have to have. What you say and what you do has to be the same thing, and he is definitely that way."
He's earned the respect and friendship of his teammates.
"I played here for like five years and all the other quarterbacks talked and on Saturday sometimes they show up and sometimes they don't. Colt shows up every week," center Samson Satele said. "And he's a good guy. If you need a ride late at night you can call him. He'll come pick you up. That's how good of a man he is."
Last year, Satele was in a position somewhat similar to that of Brennan. He chose to return to UH instead of turning pro.
"It's so tough because the money's going to be there for Colt," Satele said. "All the friendships he has now, we're all so close to each other. It's a hard decision for him. I don't know what I would do."
Star-Bulletin reporter Cindy Luis contributed to this report.