Colt Brennan, Former Heisman Trophy Candidate, Dead at 37 Years Old

by Emily Morgan

Colt Brennan, a record-setting quarterback who was once up for his very own Heisman trophy, has died at just 37-years-old. 

A Southern California native, Brennan attended Mater Dei, a high school known for its renowned athletic program. He played behind future USC star and NFL quarterback Matt Leinart in high school before taking a postgraduate year at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts. 

Afterward, he was a walk-on player at the University of Colorado at Boulder. However, he wasn’t there long: the school kicked him off the team after breaking into a women’s dorm room. 

Later, he went on to play a year at Saddleback College in California before getting his breakthrough opportunity at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. June Jones, the head coach of the Warriors at the time, gave the young quarterback another shot. 

In Hawaii, he helped lead his team with an incredible offense that helped Hawaii win the Hawaii Bowl in 2006 and finish the season undefeated one year later. 

In 2006, Brennan finished 6th in Heisman Trophy voting in that year’s race. During the season, Brennan passed for 5,549 yards and 58 touchdowns, both of which are still school records and the highest passer efficiency in the nation. 

Colt Brennan Remembered for Outstanding High School Football Career

According to Jones, “Colt is a money guy. Colt is what I said he is: the best college quarterback in America, and he proved it tonight.”

During a press conference on January 17, Brennan announced that he was returning to the University of Hawaii for his senior season. He didn’t feel he was fully prepared for the league and needed another year to prepare. He returned to school as a Heisman front runner and one of the NCAA’s most prolific passers.

After an impressive college career, the Washington Football Team drafted him in the sixth round in 2008. However, his professional career didn’t last long. He had to leave the league after suffering severe injuries in a car crash in 2010.

Brennan’s last stint in football came in 2014 with the Los Angeles Kiss of the Arena Football League. After signing with the team just a few months earlier, doctors could not clear him to play due to a traumatic brain injury that he suffered in the car accident. 

Brennan spoke about the accident, in which he was a passenger, in an episode on a docu-series titled “4th and Loud” about the Kiss’ 2014 season:

“All I know is I woke up, six, seven days later. I badly broke my collarbone, and on the X-rays it was just like crack, crack, crack, crack, crack, crack all the way down my left side.”

He added, “I woke up and I was — and I still am — a different person. I suffered minor TBI — traumatic brain injury. I just have a small scar, you know, on my brain. But it’s in an area that makes you impulsive and emotional. I’ve had to learn how to control that.”