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Where ‘Last Chance U’ Players in the NFL Are Now
Last Chance U superfans, we have to start with some bad news: Season Five will be the last time Netflix gives the sports-doc treatment to the wild west of junior college football. Going forward, producer Greg Whiteley and co. will shift over to the hardwood for Last Chance U: Basketball next.
But that doesn’t mean the fun is over. Since Last Chance U follows, you know, real-life people, you can still follow the gridiron adventures of your favorite alums, which we’ve compiled for you here. A big disclaimer to this entire list, though: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most of the players below might not even play football this fall. So, the broad answer to: “Where are they now?” Probably at home, like the rest of us.
Ronald Ollie, defensive lineman, Season One
Last time the show checked in with the fun-loving, hard-hitting lineman, things were looking up: Ollie accepted an offer from Nicholls State, where he finally added the discipline to go along with his NFL-ready athleticism.
After going undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft, Ollie signed a deal with the Oakland Raiders to participate in rookie minicamp—just when Hard Knocks was in town for the team’s last season. Though the Hard Knocks-Last Chance U crossover we always wanted only amounted to a short cameo—Olie was quickly waived from the roster. A few months later, the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League signed Ollie to the team, but he hasn’t had a chance to suit up yet due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Buddy Stephens, head coach, Seasons One and Two
Season Two of Last Chance U saw Buddy with a new lease on life. After watching himself in Season One brawling with referees, karate-kicking a camera, and cursing like he’s in a Scorsese flick, he vowed to be a little more Steve Kerr and a little less Bobby Knight in Season Two. It looks like the zen paid off: Since Netflix left Scooba, Coach Buddy and EMCC won the 2017 and 2018 JUCO National Championships. EMCC’s 2019 season was a down year by Buddy’s standards, though, the team losing in a 31-7 blowout in the MACJC Semifinals. Now, like nearly every other football coach in the country, Stephens is just hoping to have something resembling a normal season in 2020.
“I think we have to put our feelings to the side and realize that this is a different year and if we get to play three balls games, it’s way more than what we would have gotten to play 5-6 months ago,” Stephens told Mississippi’s WTOK. “We’ve got to be grateful, thankful and humble and let people make decisions that need to make them.”
Brittany Wagner, academic advisor, Seasons One and Two
You think Ms. Brittany was a star before? Last year, Deadline broke the news that Michael Strahan’s production company is developing a show based on Wagner and her time at Last Chance U. It’ll air on Spectrum, with Courtney Cox in the leading role. In the meantime, Wagner continues to work as a consultant and motivational speaker, asking audiences around the country if they have a pencil.
John Franklin III, quarterback, Season One
As far as raw talent goes on Last Chance U, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone better than John Franklin III, who’s such a freakish athlete that coaches have long struggled to find the right position for him. After the show, he accomplished his dream of playing for Auburn in 2017—but only started one game. He transferred to Florida Atlantic University to play for Lane Kiffin, who set Franklin III loose as a rusher-receiver. After wrapping up at FAU, he eventually landed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he’s already suited up at cornerback, wide receiver, and even quarterback in practice. Get this: He’s still on Tampa Bay’s active roster. So he could be suiting up with the GOAT come this fall.
Dakota Allen, linebacker, Season Two
Allen’s story shows exactly why JUCO football is so important: After he was charged with second-degree burglary and expelled from Texas Tech (the charges were later dropped), he showed what made him a D-1 talent with a monster 2016 season at EMCC.
He returned to Texas Tech in 2017, where he racked up an insane 165 tackles over the next two seasons—which was impressive enough for the Los Angeles Rams to take him with the 251st overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. That made him the first Last Chance U player drafted into the NFL. Unfortunately, the Rams waived him during training camp, Allen eventually ending up with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he’s all set to report for 2020 training camp.
Isaiah Wright, running back, season two
Last Chance U already showed us Wright’s unfortunate JUCO exit: he was charged with one count of criminal homicide for the stabbing and death of 18-year-old Caleb Thomas Radford. He eventually accepted a plea deal and the charges were dropped, but he went through 11 months of incarceration in the meantime. Knox News caught up with Wright in April, where he’s living with his family—and even playing football again. He’s rostered in the IAFL—a semi pro league—as a running back for the Alcoa Alloys.
Kerry Buckmaster, center, season three
After his time with the Pirates, Buckmaster announced that he would finish his college career at West Texas A&M. It looks like he’s not playing football anymore, tweeting in March 2019: “My apologies..I got to do what’s best for me and this ain’t it anymore.” But that hasn’t stopped him from Tweeting with old teammates and re-upping Last Chance U happenings.
Carlos Thompson, wide receiver, Season Three
Infamously, Thomas is one of those Last Chance U on-again-off-again players—beefing with the coach one week, and ripping touchdowns the next. But Thompson genuinely seemed to change for the better, stepping up to lead the Pirates at the end of Season Three. It’s a little unclear where Thompson’s career stands—he spent the 2018 season at Missouri Western University, and in January, News-Press Now reported that Thompson would forgo his senior year to prepare for the draft. He went undrafted and remains unsigned, before being invited to join the XFL Draft, where he was not taken either. Thompson currently lists himself as an NFL free agent on his Twitter account.
Jason Brown, Head Coach, Seasons Three and Four
Where do you start with Coach Brown, the hot tub-loving, shit-talking offensive master? Season Four saw Brown relieved of his duties after he allegedly sent offensive text messages to a German player on his team. Then, he was charged with eight accounts of fraud, stealing the identity of a lawyer from the Cochran Law Firm. If you’re missing the guy, don’t worry—you can still find recent interviews of Brown calling out what he thinks are inaccuracies in Last Chance U.
Bobby Bruce, outside linebacker, Seasons Three and Four
If you pull a random Last Chance U fan and ask them who their favorite player in the series’ history is, you’ll get a whole bunch of Bobby Bruce talk. After facing legal troubles in Season Four, the final episode showed Bruce’s life looking up, having just become a father. Unfortunately, he’s ran into trouble since then, including an incident in February, when Florida police arrested Bruce for cocaine possession.
Malik Henry, quarterback, Seasons Three and Four
Surely, when Henry closes his eyes at night, he can still hear Coach Brown wailing, “MALIK!!!” After two seasons of almost non-stop fighting with Brown at Independence, the former blue-chip recruit signed with the University of Nevada in 2019. He lost out on the starting job, but eventually got his shot later in the season, where he threw for 593 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions. According to Nevada’s recently-updated roster, Henry is no longer with the team.
Kailon Davis, defensive end, Season Four
“KD” was by far one of Last Chance U’s all-time personalities, providing endless wise-cracking during a season where there wasn’t much to laugh about. Good news his way: Davis played in nine games for Arkansas State in 2019, racking up five solo tackles, which should hopefully lead into more playing time if there is a 2020 college football season.
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