STARKVILLE, Miss. (WIAT) – The sudden rise to stardom was a shock for an academic advisor in Scooba, MS. Brittany Wagner was entering her sixth year at East Mississippi Community College as the academic advisor for the football team. The docu-series was called, “Last Chance U.” “It’s been crazy,” Wagner explained. “The show came out on July 29th, and on July 28th nobody knew who I was; I was just a counseler from Mississippi.”
“I think on July 29th my whole life changed.”
While the show was centered around the EMCC Lions football team, a landing spot for highly talented players who have either academic or off-the-field issues. Many of the players featured in the show were portrayed as uninterested in anything academia. It was Wagner’s job to help them stay eligible, which often meant going above and beyond her job description. The passion and care for her student-athletes resonated with fans of the show. “I had no clue that I would be the star of this show or that anyone would even care about the non-football side of it,” she said. “It’s really restored my faith in humanity. People are in a place in this country right now where they want to feel good about other people.”
Today, Wagner has traveled north to see two of her former players that were co-stars in “Last Chance U.” John Franklin III, the most highly touted and recruited player on the show, is now a back-up quarterback for the Auburn Tigers. His team is in Starkville, MS to play Mississippi State, where former teammate Wyatt Roberts walked on the team before earning a scholarship earlier this fall. In the series, Franklin III was shown in a somewhat negative light. There were comments that made the cut about dating and disparaging remarks about non-Power Five school recruiting him, including UAB. “You can’t judge him in his core off six hours of a TV show,” Wagner emphasized. “He was in a unique situation and a unique battle, really for his future. He handled it to the best of his ability and sometimes it came off in a negative light; but it shouldn’t have, because that s not who he is.”
As for Wagner, she has no immediate plans to leave Scooba. Unlike many of the players that have rolled through her now-famous office, she doesn’t think the limelight is always the best place. “It’s not about the label, it’s not about the place, it’s not about the hype. It’s just about being somewhere you can make a difference,” she claimed.
Netflix announced in August that “Last Chance U” will be back for a second season. No release date is set.