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Some of the Fan Favorite ‘Last Chance U’ Players Have Finally Made it to the NFL

It’s that time of year again. For most football fans, it’s time to obsess over every single pick in the NFL Draft, which ran from this past Thursday to Saturday. For Last Chance U superfans? It’s the season for scouring all 259 picks to see if anyone with even the tiniest connection to the Netflix sports-doc phenomenon will make their way into the NFL gridiron.

Good news and bad news on that front. The bad: No one featured in any of the five Last Chance U seasons had their name called during the draft. But the good news is very good. Former Independence Community College running back Rakeem Boyd (featured in Season Three of Last Chance U) signed with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent. So there you go: Boyd will have a shot at joining the likes of Dakota Allen and (recent Super Bowl winner) John Franklin III in the NFL. Read on to see where the rest of your Last Chance U favorites are in their football journeys.

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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.

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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, with the team losing in a 31-7 blowout in the MACJC Semifinals. The 2020 season was cancelled due to the pandemic.

“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.”

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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.

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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, yes, he nabbed a Super Bowl ring along with Tom Brady.

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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 racked up 12 solo tackles last season.

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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 was living with his family—and even playing football again, rostered in the IAFL—a semi pro league—as a running back for the Alcoa Alloys. Now, you can keep up with his football pursuits on his Instagram.

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.

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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.

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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. Those charges were recently dropped. 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. Now, his Twitter is full of wholesome parenting moments with his young son.

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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.

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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. He played in two games during the 2020 season.

RJ Stern, wide receiver, Season Five

Stern didn’t get the best shake in Season Five, struggling to get enough targets to put together a Division I resume. The season finale even showed him calling schools himself, asking if he could try out. Eventually, things worked out for him, with a full ride at that. The show let us know that he’d be running routes at Division II school Tusculum University, but his Instagram bio hints that he may be looking for new digs for next year.

Nu’u Taugavau, offensive lineman, Season Five

It’s hard to imagine how Taugavau even had the energy to play football in Season Five. While his wife worked and went to beauty school, he was often taking care of their two daughters. Thankfully, all the hard work paid off—he played two games at D-1 school Murray State University this past fall.

Dior Walker-Scott, wide receiver, Season Five

Last Chance U‘s profile of Walker-Scott is by far one of the most poignant in series history. In Season Five, we watch him battle through multiple part-time jobs, homelessness, and PTSD from his childhood just to step on the football field. Good news: Walker-Scott ended up making Hawaii’s squad, playing in eight games throughout the season.

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