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Top Headlines: Newly-Released Netflix Documentary ‘Last Chance U’ Features EMCC

Newly-released Netflix’s documentary Last Chance U documents the entire 2015 football season at East Mississippi Community College from the opening contest against Southwest Mississippi Community College to the season-ending brawl against Mississippi Delta.

The documentary focuses on the students that have come to the junior college in Scooba and their path to becoming senior college eligible. It especially focuses on players such as John Franklin III, Ronald Ollie, Wyatt Roberts and D.J. Law.

Franklin was a transfer from Florida State who didn’t see much playing time at quarterback for the ‘Noles. Franklin spent much of the season at Scooba as the backup quarterback, but was offered a full scholarship by Auburn and will compete for the job this season with Sean White and Jeremy Johnson.

Ollie was one of the most interesting stories of the documentary. It shows how much he needs football, and how much the young man had gone through. Ollie lost his parents at an early age and had battled throughout his highs school years at Wayne County to get a scholarship. The documentary follows Ollie throughout the season and shows you the inner side of him. Ollie eventually signs a scholarship with Nichols State in Louisiana.

Wyatt Roberts was the starting quarterback for EMCC last year. Roberts started off the year in competition with Franklin III but he eventually took over the full-time reigns of the offense. Roberts, a Louisville native, decided to forego his football career after the season and just attend Mississippi State as a student.

D.J. Law signed with Ole Miss out of high school but didn’t have the grades to immediately attend a division one college. Law wound up in Scooba, where he was the running back for two years. The documentary details his academic struggles and how he was struggling to get division one eligible. Law eventually signed an NOI to play at UAB pending his graduation this summer.

The documentary also does a great job in showing Brittany Wager, an athletic academic advisor, and how she gets the young athletes to be eligible for transfers to universities. In the documentary, one can see her tracking down kids at their dorm rooms or wherever they may be to make sure they attend the classes.

The documentary does well in humanizing the athletes as it shows that at the end of the day these are still extremely young men and aren’t just recruits for certain colleges.

It gives you an inside look at EMCC’s football head coach Buddy Stephens and how he runs the program that has won so many championships over the past few years. The Rebels have benefited greatly from East Mississippi Community College as its last two starting quarterbacks each won national championships in Scooba: Chad Kelly and Bo Wallace.

To learn how this documentary came to be, check out the Q&A with Greg Whiteley, the director of Last Chance U.

Q&A with Greg Whiteley, director of Last Chance U

HottyToddy.com: How did you hear about EMCC?

Greg Whiteley: By a guy named Drew Jubera who appeared in GQ Magazine and that’s how we heard about it. The article was so entertaining and their coach Buddy Stevens is so colorful and interesting that you can just imagine having a series in which he was one of the lead characters.

HottyToddy.com: What part of the documentary is your favorite?

Greg Whiteley: I don’t know if there is one part… The whole season (from) episode one to episode six works as a very pleasing story art. I’m excited for audiences to go on this journey for this entire football season that’s completely shot from a perspective that’s unprecedented. Nobody has ever had this kind of access – kind of a front row seat into what we believe to be is a pretty remarkable season.

HottyToddy.com: What were your interactions like with current Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly?

Greg Whiteley: He was terrific while at EMCC and his shadow was large while we where there filming. We filmed, of course, the year after Chad had left. He is one of those success stories that you will hear at a place like East Mississippi. Chad had a troubled past and then comes to East Mississippi and turns his life around and wins a national championship and then is offered ultimately the starting job at Ole Miss. So we were thrilled we were granted access to interview him in his spotlight and what was like and he was very responsive.

HottyToddy.com: How long did it take to film?

Greg Whiteley: It took from August until November so four or four and half months to film.

HottyToddy.com:: What do you hope the audience will take away from this documentary?

Greg Whiteley: We try and remain agnostic. We show up and try to be a fly on the wall and technically document what is in front of us so whatever message the audience gets from it. We try and leave it up to them. I’m not sure that I have any particular thing that I want the audience to get from it. I want them to keep watching more stuff that we produce.

Collin Brister is a staff writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at collin.brister@hottytoddy.com. Adam Brown is the sports editor for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at adam.brown@hottytoddy.com. Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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