Dubbed by many as “Quarterback High,” Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif. has had a rich history of producing some of football’s top collegiate quarterbacks in the game.
From former Heisman Trophy winners John Huarte (1964) and Matt Leinart (2004), to current Philadelphia Eagle Matt Barkley, and even closer to home, to former Heisman Trophy finalist and all-time Hawaii great Colt Brennan (2007), all are alumnus of the Southern California private school.
Now enter class of 2011 Mater Dei graduate Max Wittek.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound San Ramon, California native will enter the 2015 college football season as the Rainbow Warrior starting quarterback, and when he hits the tunnel at Aloha Stadium against Colorado on Sept. 3, it won’t be for the first time in his career.
Just two years ago in 2013, Wittek stepped onto Hawaiian Airlines Field with his then USC Trojans, where he split time with Cody Kessler. Wittek eventually lost the starting job to Kessler and looked to transfer schools, when he eventually found his future home here in Manoa.
From Mater Dei graduate to Pac-12 transfer to Hawaii starting quarterback, Wittek’s path has been very similar to that of former NCAA record holder and Colorado transfer, Colt Brennan.
After sitting out the 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Wittek was named to the preseason All-Mountain West First Team and hopes the confidence shown by head coach Norm Chow can help lead Hawaii back to conference title contention.
“Just having the confidence behind you from your head coach and offensive coordinator moving in to camp, knowing the offense is yours. The guys are behind you, it makes a world of difference,” Wittek told KHON2’s Sam Spangler. “The way that I feel out there is so much more confident, the decisions are happening so much more naturally so I’m excited.”
Wittek unseats 2014 starting quarterback Ikaika Woolsey, who was listed No. 2 on the depth chart.
“[Wittek] has to feel comfortable. He has to know that he doesn’t have to look over his shoulder,” head coach Chow said. “It’s the old adage that if you have two quarterbacks, you probably don’t have a quarterback. We made a decision. He did a nice job in spring and we’re going to go with it.”
The Rainbow Warriors opened fall camp Aug. 5 and will run practices through Aug. 22. Opening game is set for Thursday, Sept. 3, against Colorado at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff time will be at 7 p.m. Hawaii time. the game will air on national TV on the CBS Sports Network.