For University of Hawaii's quarterback Colt Brennan (hip), it wasn't the ideal start to his college career that he was looking for. As a freshman at the University of Colorado, Brennan was one of those involved when a rash of charges, including sexual assault, was leveled at several members of the team. Brennan, who has admitted he put himself in bad situation during the incident, eventually was sentenced to seven days in jail with four years probation for first-degree criminal trespass and second-degree burglary (the sexual assault charges were dropped). He did not stick around Colorado, either, instead heading to a junior college in California after being kicked off the team. That wasn't his final stop as he ended up in June Jones run-and-shoot offense in Hawaii.
The rest of the story, however, plays closer to storybook form. He recorded 4,000-plus passing yards and 30-plus passing touchdowns in every season with the Warriors. His best year was in 2006. During that season he threw for 5,549 yards, an NCAA single-season record 58 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions. This past season his numbers dropped a bit; however, they were still a solid 4,343-38-17. It also helped Brennan to place third in voting for the Heisman Trophy.
Brennan had about as good a college career as you could hope for from a numbers standpoint (see above). His experience in an NFL-style offense should help him adapt to the NFL. It at the very least has shown he can have success when working within the confines of an offense.
Brennan also has the mentality of a gunslinger. While he does not have the arm strength a prototypical 'slinger, he is awfully accurate in the intermediate range and a lightning-quick release. He is also great at generating second chances with his feet. He is not a fast or quick runner but is rather elusive when it comes to breaking tackles. The gunslinger mentality also applies to Brennan in that his mistakes don't seem to faze him. Unlike some quarterbacks that are rattled after throwing an interception, Brennan has immense confidence in himself. He is not someone that will shy away from the pressure. This also shows in talking about his experience at Colorado. At the Combine, Brennan was not one to back down from any questions regarding the incident, and he views it as something that is there but that he has moved on from.
Finally, even if you factor in Brennan playing in system designed to put up good numbers, they are still outstanding - 58 touchdowns in one season, compared to just 12 interceptions. He has shown quality decision-making on the field and can make the throws when needed to. He sported a phenomenal completion percentage of 72.6 in 2006 and 70.4 last year. He might not have the physical tools of other quarterbacks, but he has the mental game and has had success in Hawaii's system.
Numbers aren't everything in determining NFL-readiness. Many scouts believe that his numbers are largely a product of the system. Just look at the failure of former Hawaii quarterback Timmy Chang or any number of the Jeff Tedford system quarterback (Akili Smith, Kyle Boller, Joey Harrington, to name a few) that have failed to adapt to the NFL. This is why NFL teams might be scared off by him. He already struggled in his first introduction to a professional team as he did not perform well working in Mike Martz's offense at the Senior Bowl. Brennan chalked this up to a sore hip and groin. This is something that he won't be able to shake until he hits an NFL field.
Another negative regarding Brennan is his arm strength. While he can get good zip on the ball in underneath routes, his throws on deep balls are often off, especially when playing in windy conditions. This could hurt his value to any team where he might play a lot of games in poor weather.
Brennan also does not have the prototypical size that you want out of a quarterback. When Brennan played in the Senior Bowl, he weighed in at 185 pounds. At the combine, he weighed in at 207 pounds. It might have been a dramatic weight gain, but it is still not up to NFL standards. At 6-foot-2, he also does not have the height you want at the NFL level. His lack of size was particularly shown when Hawaii matched up against the University of Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Against a premier college program, Brennan struggled, throwing for just 169 yards and three interceptions.
Brennan's overwhelming amount of confidence can come across as being cocky or smug, which may rub some folks the wrong way.
Scheduled to undergo hip surgery to repair a partially torn labrum on April 7, Brennan doesn't figure to be ready for offseason training. It is likely that he will begin the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list or Injured Reserve in the NFL. The recovery time is expected to take up to three months.
Finally, although the Colorado incident is well behind him, it still raises a flag for teams regarding his maturity level. He might have had a good supporting cast around him in Hawaii but once he is earning his paycheck from the NFL, who knows what kind of trouble that could precipitate. This could keep teams away.
Expected Draft Placement
Brennan's value has been all over the place. Some feel he has done more than enough to prove himself a top quarterback prospect. While others feel his numbers are just a product of a weak conference and a good system. Brennan doesn't figure to be drafted any higher than the fifth round at this point, and he could slide into the seventh if teams are overly concerned with his hip injury.
Brennan's best-case situation would be to come to a team that employs a West Coast offense, which would allow him to learn the system while awaiting his shot as a starter. His mobility, short-range accuracy and zip should allow him to flourish in such a system, just as long as he can grasp all of the mental intricacies of the offense.