Brennan reminisces of times as a Gaucho

(Sean Lara/Lariat Staff)

John Franz

The Saddleback College football crowd gave a warm welcome to one of its own, Colt Brennan, when the injured Washington Redskins quarterback came back to town recently to watch the Gauchos play.

Brennan led Saddleback to the 2004 Mission Conference Title and went on to a stellar career at the University of Hawaii. Brennan was selected 186th overall in the 15th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He saw some action in last year’s preseason, but is out for the 2009 season following a preseason injury.

Brennan spent the night watching the Gauchos while standing on the sidelines in crutches. Brennan was placed on injured reserve on September 4 with a torn labrum in his left hip and a partially torn hamstring. Brennan aggravated a nagging hamstring injury in a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 2008, Brennan had missed most of the offseason work due to surgery on his right hip.

“It is really neat to come back here and see the Mission Conference Championship up there (on the press box),” Brennan said. “Through all the turmoil I was enduring when I was here, I really had a great time and we had great football team. It is really humbling to come back here, and it’s pretty awesome.”

Brennan came to Saddleback in 2004 after an expulsion from the University of Colorado football team. Brennan had been arrested and convicted of felony burglary and trespassing. A guilty charge for unlawful sexual contact was vacated for lack of defense. At the time, Colorado had been enduring a scandal of sex crimes and wild recruiting parties all involving the school’s football players. After Brennan’s incident, he was dismissed from the team.

The 2004 Gauchos were ranked No. 3 in the nation according to JCGridiron.com and had an 11-2 record under Coach McElroy. In the ’04 season, Brennan broke major Saddleback records including 3,395 yards passing, 30 touchdown passes, a 65% completion percentage, attempts with 366, and completions with 238.

“Enjoying the game and have an opportunity to play and get a love for the game again,” Brennan said of his time playing football at Saddleback. “Having great coaches, and the team itself had this special camaraderie, a “Remember the Titans” type of team, and we all cared for one another.”

After the ’04 season, Brennan transferred to the University of Hawaii where he went on to break 31 NCAA records, including career touchdown passes with 131, consecutive 200 yard passing games with 34.

In 2007, he finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting, falling to Florida’s Tim Tebow. But Brennan did receive 54 first place votes.

He was a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award which is given to the nation’s top senior quarterback. Brennan was also a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award which is given to the nation’s top quarterback.

He was honored as Associated Press third-team All-American and CNNSI.com second-team All-American honors. Brennan was named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year and was a first-team All-WAC selection in 2006 and 2007.

After his record-breaking year at Hawaii, Brennan was drafted by the Redskins in the 2008 NFL Draft. Brennan did not play during the 2008 regular season.

“I got hurt during training camp (this year) and was placed on IR,” Brennan said. “The Redskins have treated me well and will give me an opportunity next season.”

The Redskins know Brennan has the talent. Brennan saw playing time in the 2008 preseason,  most notably in a preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football. Brennan got his shot in the third quarter.

He completed his first pass to receiver Billy McMillan for a big gain, and three plays later, he threw for a 20 yard touchdown pass to Maurice Mann. He finished the game going nine-for-10 for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the Redskins 30-16 come-from-behind victory.

“Each level is significantly different, and now a year and a half in, I have learned what it takes to succeed in the NFL and I’m anxious to get back out there next season,” Brennan said. “I have got used to the game itself and I have figured out what it takes to mature and learn to be a successful player in the NFL”.

Brennan expressed that his time at Saddleback gave him great memories that he will have for the rest of his life.

The fans who come out may never know who or what they will see.

For Brennan, he had no clue what his future had in store for him during his time at Saddleback.

Five years later, he came back to remember the Gauchos.

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