Former University of Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan, a 2007 Heisman Trophy finalist, died Monday in Newport, Calif. He was 37.
Brennan’s father Terry informed the Honolulu Star-Advertiser of the news. No cause of death was immediately available.
Terry Brennan told the Star-Advertiser that his son was in the fifth month of an inpatient treatment program.
“He was doing so well, the spark was back in his eyes, and he was healthy and doing great, and it happened,” Terry Brennan said.
A two-time Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year winner (2006, 2007), Brennan led the Rainbow Warriors to an undefeated regular season in 2007 before falling to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
Under coach June Jones, the air-raid Hawaii offense flourished with Brennan in control. He threw for 131 touchdowns over three seasons as a starter, but the 2006 campaign stands above the rest; Brennan threw 58 touchdowns (the second-most in single-season history) at 9.9 yards per attempt and a 72.6 completion percentage — and 5,549 passing yards. He finished sixth in the Heisman voting that year and third behind Tim Tebow and Darren McFadden in 2007.
Brennan’s 70.4 percent career completion percentage is best all time in the Division I ranks (minimum 875 attempts), while his three seasons with more than 4,000 passing yards and number of games 400 or more passing yards (20) are tied for most all time.
A southern California native, Brennan walked onto the University of Colorado’s team in 2003 but was kicked off the team that offseason following an incident that led to his conviction for burglary and trespassing (a guilty verdict for unlawful sexual contact was vacated).
Brennan always maintained his innocence, writing so in a recent Instagram caption for an April 13 post. He landed at junior college Saddleback before Jones offered him a walk-on spot at Hawaii.
Washington selected Brennan in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL draft, but he never appeared in a NFL game. He was arrested at least three times between 2012-20 following incidents usually involving alcohol.
“I’ve been through a lot in my life,” Brennan began the Instagram post. “I was a convicted felon for a crime I never committed, (passed polygraph and all). I captured every dream I had as a child. I was drafted into the league only to have 2 knee and 2 hip surgeries. I reached my 3rd year in the NFL, only to awake from a coma with traumatic brain injury as a passenger in a car accident. I battled drug and alcohol abuse, and eventually developed blood clots years after the car accident.”
Brent Brennan, Colt’s first cousin, is currently the head coach at San Jose State University.