How Netflix changed JUCO Football Forever

September 14, 2018

            Last Chance U Indy Part 1


OJ Simpson, Alvin Kamara, LeGarrette Blount, Jason Pierre-Paul, Aaron Rodgers. All former Junior College Stars who made names for themselves in the game of football via 2-year schools. However, rarely do people look at those players and think “oh, I remember when he went to *insert Junior College here*". It might not be the primary route for football players, but it is extremely viable, even seeing former 5 stars Malik Henry and Cam Newton spend time in Juco. Even with big alumni, nobody seems to talk about it. That was however, until Netflix and Director Greg Whiteley came along. Thus, Last Chance U was born. A Netflix Original documentary series, Last Chance U featured several Division 1 “bounce backs”, players with no major offers, or players deemed academically ineligible by the NCAA. The series has shined a light on 2 of the biggest football Community Colleges, East Mississippi CC (Scooba, MS) and Independence CC (Independence, KS). Under the Thursday night lights, LCU has given all people involved exposure that has changed them, for the better or the worse.


            Brittney Wagner (Middle) with Several Players at EMCC


Last Chance U premiered on July 29th, 2016. Featuring an EMCC team led by Head Coach Buddy Stevens, Netflix showed the very real lives of JUCO Athletes. Player and coach altercations, small town involvement, and the academic struggles of these players. One of the main characters in Season 1 was Brittany Wagner, the academic advisor for the team. She became a fan favorite after playing a major factor in helping another fan favorite, Ronald Ollie, improve his mental state and helping him achieve his goal of getting out of Scooba. With her help, she helped many players go to Division 1 schools. After Season 2, the popularity of the show allowed her to start her own business “10 Thousand Pencils” to help student-athletes in Birmingham, Alabama. She even started her own Podcast, Sharpen Up, available on Itunes. The show has opened doors for many, and Brittany is just one example.


 Indy Part 1  Starting QB Malik Henry


While there are many great players at these respective schools, it’s no secret that the crew targets players with big personalities, or intriguing stories. This can ultimately be a player’s downfall. Being a main character means that you are on camera a lot, everything you do is filmed and can be used as a part of the series.  While we’ve seen examples of good exposure, we saw one major example of why the cameras and the lights could be a career killer in Season 3. Malik Henry was number 1 on the ESPN Top 300 coming out of high school. He committed to Florida State where he was suspended before transferring to Independence, where he clearly didn’t want to be. On the show, he was promoted as “THE GUY”, but he became “the guy with attitude problem”. On Malik, Coach Jason Brown has said “Football is not his issue at all”, as well as “I’ve nearly cut him 20 times. I’ve suspended him. I’ve done it all.” Malik’s lack of respect for his coaches came out several times during arguments over play-calling among other things. He also began missing class to the point where QB Coach Frank Diaz, who works for FREE, had to become almost a babysitter to Malik. His off the field outburst on screen are probably why Malik didn’t go back to D1. He is listed on the 2018 ICC roster and in Independence. He must’ve have worked out his issues with Coach Brown after Brown said days before his return, “He wants to come back, but I don’t think I can make it work.” We’ll see if Last Chance U’s exposure is the final dagger or the savior for Malik Henry’s career.


 Former Indy Pirate, Trevon Guano at Dodge City (Featured in Dodge City Pre-Game Intro on Season 3 *Front Man #19*)


JUCO football has become bigger in the eyes of the public than ever before. Last Chance U has shined light on two of the best JUCO programs in the country, but every good thing has its price. Former Indy Pirate and current DB at Angelo State University, Trevon Guano, recently came out with his story of JUCO Football in a “FlemloRaps” Youtube Video . Trevon started his JUCO career in California. Everyone thinks of the glitz and glammer of Cali, but Cali Juco’s have no scholarships, no dorms, no meal plans. He spent 2 weeks in Cali, a part of a 30- man depth chart… with just defensive backs. He ended up leaving for personal reasons. He ended up following a friend to Cisco College (Texas) but the defensive coordinator was fired and most JUCO coaches bring their own guys with them. With 10 spots for D1 bouncebacks and out of state players combined in Texas (Kansas has unlimited). He battled really for 6 open spots. His mom passed while he was at Cicso but made the team after using that as fuel, even garnering several D1 offers. However, because of his Cali juco stay, he was ineligible for the season and the lost every game. The entire staff he proved himself to, was fired. He left Cisco and then he ended up with Coach Brown at Indy where Trevon claims he coined the schools “Dream U” name ***NOT CONFIRMED***. He arrived at Indy where he found out almost every player was promised a starting spot. He found his spot on the field but saw many friends get the opposite. Brown started recruiting his friends whom asked Trevon about Indy. He said it probably wasn’t a good choice because of the lack of player opportunity, looking out for his friends. Brown found out and after several other things, Trevon was suspended all year and was granted his release. He ended up at Dodge City and got some D1 offers again. He appeared to be going D1. After 2 years of Juco, you must have 48 transferable hours and a 2.5 GPA. He had 60 hours and a 3.0. He found out that because of his weeks in Cali, he had to have 72 hours. He commited to Houston but wasn’t allowed to attend because of his hours. He kept pushing and wound up at top D2 school, Angelo State College, where he is currently pursuing his dream of playing in the NFL. For more in depth on his story, check out Flemlo Raps video on Youtube.

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