Last year Netflix produced and distributed a six-episode documentary following the 2015 season of the East Mississippi Community College Lions football team. EMCC has been one of the most dominate junior college (JUCO) football teams of the last decade, winning the NJCAA National Championship in 2011, 2013, and 2014. They were arguably on the verge of a fourth championship before the entire team was disqualified from the NJCAA playoffs, in 2015, after a bench clearing brawl with rival the Mississippi Delta Trojans. At the time of the fight the Lions were leading 48-0. The brawl went on for several minutes before law enforcement arrived and broke up the fracas.
Season two picks up during the summer training camp prior to the 2016 season. EMCC academic consultant Brittany Wagner and head coach Buddy Stephens return as the focal points of the EMCC staff. Although there are familiar faces new student-athletes make their debuts at the center of the documentary, many of whom made headlines regarding their removal from blue chip FBS programs.
De’Andre Johnson (QB): Dismissed by the Florida State Seminoles for misdemeanor battery after striking a woman at a bar.
Dakota Allen (LB): Dismissed by the Texas Tech Red Raiders for his role during a felony burglary of a habitation.
Kam Carter (DT): Dismissed by the Penn State Nittany Lions for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Chauncey Rivers (DL): Dismissed by the Georgia Bulldogs after an arrest for marijuana possession.
The EMCC team is not simply made up of FBS members that made missteps while at big programs. Also attending are several athletically gifted young men that did not meet the academic standards required to qualify for big time FBS programs. They are working to earn the grades to succeed on a big time team.
EMCC became of interest for VPI when former Virginia Tech Hokies defensive back, C.J. Reavis, who was dismissed by VT, attended EMCC during the 2015 season. Reavis was featured in several episodes of season one, and used his time with the Lions to earn a spot on the Marshall Thundering Herd squad for 2016 where he remains as a senior for the 2017 season.
The first season of Last Chance U was an eye-opening experience. I learned a tremendous amount, not only about the world of JUCO programs, but more importantly about the challenges (self-imposed and otherwise) facing the young men in JUCO athletic. On top of that I am a firm believer in second chances, and I certainly teared up several times watching the first season.
You can read my thoughts on the first season here. If you have not had an opportunity to watch the initial offering I cannot recommend strongly enough that you do.
Expect a similar review once I have completed watching the second season.