Netflix series Last Chance U spent its first two seasons in Scooba, Miss., following JUCO dynasty East Mississippi Community College. In Season 3, the show has a new setting: Independence Community College, the Southwest Kansas home of the Pirates.
1. Where is Independence?
It’s a town of about 10,000 in the middle of a bunch of bigger cities. Mickey Mantle played minor league baseball there for a while. It’s a setting in Little House on the Prairie.
2. Have the ICC Pirates been as good as EMCC?
Historically, no. Not even close.
EMCC cranks through blue-chip recruits who’ve fallen from the FBS level and contends for JUCO national titles, winning four since 2011. Independence was a longtime doormat.
Things have gotten better for the Pirates, though. A 5-4 record in 2016 was their best in years, and then, in 2017, they went — well, let’s not spoil the show for you.
3. Does Independence still have star players?
Yet another former Florida State quarterback is on the show. Four-star Malik Henry, from California, will follow Season 1’s John Franklin III (now a DB for the Bears) and Season 2’s DeAndre Johnson (now a QB at FAU).
A few Division I names who were in Division I before arriving at ICC include former Tennessee QB Sheriron Jones, former Michigan running back Kingston Davis, former Texas A&M running back Rakeem Boyd, and former Purdue linebacker Tim Faison.
In recent years, it’s sent players to A&M, Arkansas, Arkansas State, Colorado State, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Washington State, and elsewhere (including several to the Power 5 from 2017’s team, the one you’ll see in Season 3), and has produced a handful of pro athletes, like Vikings linebacker Emmanuel Lamur.
4. Will this show still be good?
Yeah. It’s a refreshing change. Your Season 3 review:
The new era of the show is an absolute hit.
It’s an inside look at a JUCO on the rise from historical mediocrity. If you like football, this show is still for you. While going from the familiarity of EMCC is an adjustment, [director Greg] Whiteley and company makes the transition flawlessly. It feels like Independence had been the show’s next step all along.
All the elements that made seasons one and two great are still here: a JUCO program, star players that sometimes break your heart, a fiery head coach, and people trying to build their lives.
This time, it’s also about building a program.
5. Does ICC’s coach also yell a lot?
Well, he’s a football coach, so yes. Jason Brown’s rough around the edges, just like Buddy Stephens in Seasons 1 and 2, but in a more personable way. He refers to junior college as “football jail!” From an SB Nation interview:
Hate me now, love me later.
It’s true, though, man. I gotta teach these kids a lot more than just football. The real world’s gonna hit ‘em in the mouth in 18 months when they leave my place. And if they’re late, they’re gonna end up at McDonald’s and being late there and getting fired.
My job is to get ‘em to the next level. I’ve sent 190 guys to Division I in 17 years, and I’ve never had a kid get kicked out of a four-year. Not one. That’s what I’m most prideful about.
Hopefully I’m harder on them here than they will be at their four-year, and when they get there, they’ve already gone through football jail, so to speak.
That’s what I call this place. I call JUCO “football jail,” and you’ve gotta get out of it.
6. Will Miss Brittany come along?
No. The beloved academic counselor wouldn’t have, even if the show had stayed at EMCC. She’s since taken a similar job in Michigan.
But this season does have a similar staffer in a prominent role. You’ll meet LaTonya Pinkard, who’s equally serious about this stuff.
“My ancestors died trying to better themselves through education,” Pinkard says. “So now I take it very personal because I don’t want my ancestors’ death to be in vain. So through me, I want to help whoever I can help, and I want them to understand that no one can take your education from you.”