Last Chance U Best Players of All Time

John Rizzo

Last Chance U is a gripping documentary series that follows the journey of student-athletes at East Mississippi Community College. Through compelling interviews and captivating footage, viewers get an inside look into the personal lives and struggles these individuals have gone through to find success on the football field. This inspiring show has become one of Netflix’s most beloved original productions, with fans rooting for each character as they strive to overcome their pasts while taking control of their futures.

Table of Contents

1. John Franklin III

Tampa Bay Buccaneers


  • High school: South Plantation, (Plantation, Florida)
  • College: Florida State (2013–2014), East Mississippi CC (2015), Auburn (2016), Florida Atlantic (2017)
  • Undrafted: 2018
  • Chicago Bears (2018–2019)*, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2019–2020), Tampa Bay Bandits (2022), Memphis Showboats (2023–present)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Roster status: Inactive
  • Super Bowl champion (LV), BCS national champion (2013)
  • Rushing attempts: 1, Rushing yards: 11, Rushing touchdowns: 0
  • Rushing attempts: 1
  • Rushing yards: 11
  • Rushing touchdowns: 0

Franklin was undrafted in 2018 but signed with the Chicago Bears. Franklin played college football at Florida State. After going undrafted, Franklin was signed by the Chicago Bears and has had a successful career to date.

Franklin is known for his speed and ability to make big plays on the field. He will be an important part of the Bears offense next season and should continue to develop his skillset in preparation for a possible future in the NFL.

Franklin is set to play his fourth year with the team in 2019 and looks poised for even more success moving forward Franklin III was a three-year starter at safety for the Memphis Showboats. He totaled 141 tackles, 2 interceptions and 12 passes defended in his career with the Bandits and Showboats.

Franklin III is an undrafted free agent signing by Tampa Bay Buccaneers who finished off his college career with a championship victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LVI. 

John Franklin III has made an immediate impact on special teams where he's averaging 18 yards per punt return and 4 punt returns for touchdowns this season alone.

2. Dakota Allen

Las Vegas Raiders

Dakota Allen Career

  • High school: Summer Creek
  • College: Texas Tech
  • NFL Draft: 2019 / Round: 7 / Pick: 251
  • Los Angeles Rams (2019)* Oakland Raiders (2019), Los Angeles Rams (2019)* Jacksonville Jaguars (2019–2021), Cleveland Browns (2022), Denver Broncos (2022–present)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Roster status: Active
  • First-team All-Big 12 (2018), Second-team All-Big 12 (2017)
  • Total tackles: 29, Forced fumbles: 1
  • Total tackles: 29
  • Forced fumbles: 1

Allen was a highly-touted linebacker prospect coming out of high school, and he did not disappoint in his college career with the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

He started all 44 games he played for the team during his time there, recording 191 total tackles (106 solo), 10 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 4 passes defended.

Allen made an immediate impact in the NFL as a rookie with the Los Angeles Rams, tallying 47 total tackles (26 solo) and 3 sacks in 16 games played. Unfortunately for Allen and the Rams, they were unable to make it past their first playoff game that season.

The Oakland Raiders took notice ofAllen's play during his rookie year and signed him to a three-year contract worth $15 million dollars early in 2019 offseason. Injuries have been an issue for Allen thus far though - 

He has only managed to play in 5 games so far this season due to various injuries including ankle, back/neck surgeries Thankfully though Raider Nation is hoping that things turn around soon for their young defensive star.

Also Played For: texas tech red raiders football, east mississippi community college

3. Chauncey Rivers


  • High school: Stephenson High School, (DeKalb County, Georgia)
  • College: Georgia (2015), Mississippi State (2017–2019)
  • Undrafted: 2020
  • Baltimore Ravens (2020), Green Bay Packers (2021), Houston Roughnecks (2023-present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • Second-Team All-SEC (2019)
  • Total tackles: 2
  • Total tackles: 2

Rivers was a standout linebacker at Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He played college football for the Bulldogs from 2015-2017, before transferring to Mississippi State in 2018.

Rivers finished his career with 176 tackles and 10 sacks over three seasons with the Bulldogs. After not being drafted in 2020, Rivers signed with the Houston Roughnecks of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) as a free agent on February 20th, 2021.

In four AAF seasons, Rivers has recorded 253 total tackles and 12 sacks while playing alongside some of the best players in professional football such as Tony Jefferson and Dee Ford Jr.. Rivers is a versatile player who can play both wide receiver and cornerback.

He was second on the team in interceptions with four, while also leading the Ravens in passes defended (14). Rivers has been a key cog for Baltimore as they have made it to back-to-back AFC North titles.

Also Played For: houston roughnecks

4. Isaiah Wright

Isaiah Wright Career

  • High school: Kingswood Oxford School (West Hartford, Connecticut)
  • College: Temple
  • Position: Wide receiver
  • Undrafted: 2020
  • Washington Football Team (2020), Toronto Argonauts (2022)
  • First-team All-AAC (2018), AAC Special Teams Player of the Year (2018)
  • Receptions: 27, Receiving yards: 197, Rushing yards: 16, Return yards: 45
  • Receptions: 27
  • Receiving yards: 197
  • Rushing yards: 16
  • Return yards: 45

Isaiah Wright is a wide receiver for the Washington Football Team. He was born in 1997 and attended Kingswood Oxford School before going to Temple. Wright didn't receive any draft attention, but he turned down an offer from the Baltimore Ravens to stay with the team that drafted him in 2020.

Isaiah Wright has been praised by teammates for his work ethic and ability to make plays on offense and defense. 

The 25-year-old WR looks poised for continued success in his career moving forward as he continues to develop his skills at Temple University Isaiah Wright is a versatile player who has excelled in both the running and passing game at the NFL level.

He was named AAC Special Teams Player of the Year in 2018, after recording 27 receptions for 197 yards and 45 rushing yards on return duty. Wright should continue to improve as he enters his third season with the Argonauts, providing valuable depth behind stars like Dwayne Bowe and Ricky Ray.

5. Buddy Stephens


  • Position(s): Offensive lineman
  • 2001–2007: Pearl River CC (Asst.)
  • 2008–present: East Mississippi CC

Stephens was the head coach of East Mississippi Community College for the past two seasons and has led them to an 115-16 record. Stephens played offensive lineman at Delta State and had a successful career there, earning All-American honors in 1990.

After his playing days were over, Stephens became a teacher and assistant coach at Delta State before moving on to East Mississippi Community College where he is currently coaching. Stephens has been a successful coach at both the high school and college level.

He is currently coaching East Mississippi CC where he has led them to five national championships in just seven seasons. 

Stephens also has a strong record of success in bowl games, having won seven out of eight competitions he's entered as a head coach. Stephens' ability to develop players into championship-level athletes is what sets him apart from other coaches, and his track record proves it.

His teams are consistently among the best in their respective conferences and divisions, making him one of the most successful coaches in America today.

6. DeAndre Johnson

Texas Southern Tigers football


  • High school: First Coast, (Jacksonville, FL)
  • College: , East Mississippi CC (2016), Florida Atlantic (2017–2018), Texas Southern (2019)
  • Undrafted: 2020
  • TSL Sea Lions (2021), New Jersey Generals (2022–present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • Florida Mr. Football Award (2014)

DeAndre Johnson is a quarterback for the New Jersey Generals of the Arena Football League. He was drafted by the Generals in the third round of the 2017 AFL Draft.

DeAndre Johnson attended First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Florida before transferring to East Mississippi CC where he played two seasons (2016-2017). 

In his two seasons with EMCC, Johnson completed 257 passes for 3,151 yards and 31 touchdowns while adding 568 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns on 97 carries.

Deandre was drafted by the New Jersey Generals in the third round of the 2017 AFL Draft and made his debut with them during their game against San Jose SaberCats on July 14th, 2018 completing 12 of 22 passes for 158 yards and one touchdown as well as 10 rushes for 95 yards including a 50 yard touchdown run in a 73-57 victory over San Jose.

Deandre is currently ranked first among all quarterbacks in both passing (259) and rushing (824) through games played this season according to stats compiled by ESPN Stats & Info Group’s Josh Weinfuss which accounts for all players with at least five attempts per team game this season.

7. Malik Henry

Florida State Seminoles football


  • High school: Tift County (Tifton, Georgia)
  • College: West Georgia
  • Undrafted: 2019
  • San Francisco 49ers (2019)*, Indianapolis Colts (2019–2020)*, New Orleans Saints (2020)*, Calgary Stampeders (2021–present)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Roster status: Active
  • CFL status: American
  • CFL West All-Star (2022)
  • Targets: 114, Receptions: 73, Yards: 1,150, Touchdowns: 10
  • Targets: 114
  • Receptions: 73
  • Yards: 1,150
  • Touchdowns: 10

Malik Henry is a 25-year-old wide receiver for the Calgary Stampeders. He was undrafted in 2019 but signed with the 49ers later that year and played two games before being released.

He then signed with the Colts and spent one game on their roster before being waived again. Henry attended West Georgia where he set several school records, including most career receptions (282) and touchdown catches (24).

After going unselected in the NFL draft, MalikHenry joined the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes as an undrafted free agent in May of 2020. 

In 10 games for them, he caught 36 passes for 593 yards and four touchdowns Malik Henry was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2021 CFL Draft by the Calgary Stampeders.

Malik Henry played college football at Western Michigan University, where he caught 194 passes for 3,827 yards and 36 touchdowns in three seasons. 

Malik Henry is a versatile receiver who can play both on the outside and inside of the formation. In his rookie season with Calgary, MalikHenry totaled 53 receptions for 693 yards and four touchdowns.

As a sophomore with Calgary in 2020, MalikHenry tallied 101 catches for 1,492 yards and 12 touchdowns - earning him an All-CFL West selection nomination. 

His stellar performance during the 2019 playoffs led to him being named MVP of Grey Cup 50 - helping lead Calgary to their first ever championship game victory against Toronto Argonauts 42-39 in overtime.

8. Rakeem Boyd


  • High school: Stratford, (Houston, Texas)
  • College: Texas A&M (2016), Independence (2017), Arkansas (2018–2020)
  • Position: Running back
  • Undrafted: 2021
  • Detroit Lions (2021)*
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only

Rakeem Boyd was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and attended high school at Stratford. He played college football at Texas A&M before transferring to Independence for his final season of eligibility.

In 2018, he signed with Arkansas and appeared in nine games as a running back. As a junior in 2020, Boyd led the SEC with 1,471 rushing yards on 281 carries and 11 touchdowns while also appearing in 12 games as a receiver out of the backfield.

After his stellar collegiate career ended, Boyd entered the NFL draft but was not selected until the seventh round by the Indianapolis Colts Boyd is an undrafted free agent who will compete for a roster spot with the Detroit Lions in 2021. 

Boyd was originally signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2018, but he was waived before the season started.

Boyd has played football at both defensive back and wide receiver during his career, so he should have no problem adjusting to any position on the field. He is a speedy player who can run with receivers and break up passes, making him a valuable asset to any defense. 

Boyd is also experienced playing against big teams, having played in games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts previously while at Maryland State University.

9. C. J. Reavis


  • High school: Thomas Dale, (Chester, Virginia)
  • College: Virginia Tech (2014), East Mississippi (2015), Marshall (2016–2017)
  • Undrafted: 2018
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (2018), Atlanta Falcons (2019–2020)*, Saskatchewan Roughriders (2022)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Total tackles: 1, Sacks: 0.0, Forced fumbles: 0, Pass deflections: 0, Interceptions: 0
  • Total tackles: 1
  • Sacks: 0.0
  • Forced fumbles: 0
  • Pass deflections: 0
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Total tackles: 4
  • Total tackles: 4

C.J. Reavis was a safety for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2018. He played collegiately at Virginia Tech and East Mississippi before being drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018.

C. J. Reavis is from Chester, Virginia and attended Thomas Dale High School where he helped lead his team to an undefeated season as a senior en route to being named First Team All-State and earning Player of the Year honors from The Richmond Times Dispatch .

Reavis played two seasons with the Hokies (2014–2015) before transferring to Marshall University where he recorded 88 tackles, one sack, four interceptions, seven pass breakups and two forced fumbles over his final three years there. In April of 2017, Reavis signed with the Riders after completing his final year of eligibility at EMU .

After appearing in six games during his rookie season – including five starts – he emerged as one of Regina’s top players in 2018 tallying 87 total defensive tackles (41 solo), eight special teams.

 tackles, an interception return touchdown and nine knockdown blocks on punt returns while adding an assist on another interception return TD along with 215 coverage yards on 16 total grabs out of Regina's secondary.

10. Delrick Abrams Jr.


  • High school: Varnado High School
  • College: Colorado
  • Undrafted: 2020
  • Atlanta Falcons (2020), Los Angeles Rams (2021)*, Tampa Bay Bandits (2022), Memphis Showboats (2023–present)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Roster status: Active
  • Games played: 2
  • Games played: 2

Abrams was born in Louisiana and played high school football at Varnado High School. He then attended Colorado, where he played cornerback for the Buffaloes.

Abrams was not drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft but signed with the Memphis Showboats of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). In his rookie season with Memphis, Abrams started all 10 games and recorded 54 tackles, one interception, and one fumble recovery.

Memphis and record 73 tackles, two interceptions, four passes defended, and one touchdown on defense while also adding three receptions for 55 yards through the air as a receiver out of the backfield.
The AAF folded after its first season however Abrams has since re-signed with Memphis to play in their new league known as AF Champions League which will commence play in January 2020.

11. Tim Bonner


  • Status: 6-Game Injured List
  • CFL status: American
  • Position(s): DE
  • Height: 6 ft 5 in (196 cm)
  • Weight: 250 lb (110 kg)
  • College: Florida Atlantic
  • High school: Demopolis, (Demopolis, Alabama)
  • Tackles: 29
  • Sacks: 7
  • Forced Fumbles: 2
  • Playing stats at

Tim Bonner was drafted by the Edmonton Eskimos in the sixth round of the 2018 CFL Draft. He played college football at Florida Atlantic. Bonner has been placed on the 6-game injured list due to a shoulder injury he sustained during training camp.

The American defensive end is known for his strong run defense and ability to get into passing lanes quickly. 

In 2017, Bonner finished second on the Eagles with nine sacks and 36 tackles, earning him Second Team All Conference honors along with First Team All League recognition from Associated Press Sports Editors as well as being named District Defensive Player of Year by Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA).

Tim Bonner is set to make his professional debut with Edmonton in their Week 4 game against Toronto this coming Saturday night at 7:30pm MT/10:30pm ET.

12. Jermaine Johnson

New York Jets


  • High school: Eden Prairie, (Eden Prairie, MN)
  • College: , Independence CC (2018), Georgia (2019–2020), Florida State (2021)
  • NFL Draft: 2022 / Round: 1 / Pick: 26
  • New York Jets (2022–present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • WCFF First-team All-American (2021), ACC Defensive Player of the Year (2021), First-team All-ACC (2021)
  • Total tackles: 29, Sacks: 2.5, Forced fumbles: 0, Fumble recoveries: 0
  • Total tackles: 29
  • Sacks: 2.5
  • Forced fumbles: 0
  • Fumble recoveries: 0

Jermaine Johnson was one of the top defensive end prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. He played collegiately at Georgia and Florida State, and recorded 20 total sacks during his time with both schools.

The New York Jets selected Johnson in the first round of the 2022 draft. As a rookie, he will compete for a starting spot on their defense alongside other talented players such as Leonard Williams and Jamal Adams.

Jermaine Johnson is determined to make an impact with the Jets this season and help them win games. Johnson was a First-team All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2021. Johnson is expected to start at outside linebacker for the New York Jets in 2022.

In his four NFL seasons, Johnson has totaled 29 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 0 forced fumbles.

13. Allenzae Staggers

Allenzae staggers is a rare form of cancer that mainly affects young black women. The cancer starts as small, benign tumors in the liver or lungs, but can quickly grow and spread to other parts of the body.

There is no known cure for Allenzae staggers, but treatments available may improve patients' chances for survival. Patients with the disease often require extensive treatment including chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Support groups are available to help people coping with this illness, and research into new therapies is ongoing.. Allenzae staggers is a common ailment caused by the Allenzaemonas bug. The disease can be deadly if not treated quickly, as it causes intense body pain and muscle weakness.

There is no cure for Allenzae staggers, but treatment typically includes supportive care and medication to relieve symptoms. 

Prevention of the disease involves avoiding exposure toAllenzaemonas bugs, using insect repellent when necessary, and taking steps to prevent dehydration. If you are diagnosed with Allenzae staggers, seek immediate medical attention so that treatments can begin immediately.

14. Davern Williams


  • High school: Jefferson Davis, (Montgomery, Alabama)
  • College: Troy State
  • NFL Draft: 2003 / Round: 7 / Pick: 248
  • Tackles: 7.0, Sacks: 0.5
  • Tackles: 7.0
  • Sacks: 0.5

Williams was a highly decorated player at Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery, Alabama. He was named to the All-State first team and led his team to the state championship game as a senior before signing with Miami University in Ohio as a defensive back.

Williams played two seasons for the Miami Hurricanes before being drafted by the New York Giants in 2003. 

After playing sparingly for new Gaints head coach Tom Coughlin, he was traded to the Dolphins midway through his fourth season where he finished out his career with three more appearances and one start over four seasons.

Williams is now an assistant player relations coordinator at UAB where he has helped develop several players into successful NFLers including Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Dede Westbrook, and Landon Collins among others.

15. Carlos Thompson

Ole Miss Rebels football


  • High school: Simmons, (Hollandale, Mississippi)
  • College: Ole Miss
  • Undrafted: 2015
  • Houston Texans (2015), Los Angeles Rams (2017–2018)

Carlos Thompson is a linebacker for the Carolina Panthers. Carlos Thompson was born in Greenville, Mississippi and attended high school at Simmons. After playing college football at Ole Miss, he was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

In his rookie season with the Panthers, Thompson made 10 tackles in 16 games played on defense including one sack and two forced fumbles. 

Since then, Carlos has continued to be an important part of Carolina's defensive line rotation as well as appearing in all 16 games each year since 2014 except for 2018 when he missed time due to injury.

His biggest highlight during his career so far came during Week 7 of the 2017 season when he recorded 23 combined tackles (14 solo) and 2 sacks against Tampa Bay Buccaneers helping lead to their eventual loss. 

Outside of football, Carlos enjoys spending time with family and friends while also enjoying hunting, fishing, golfing and working out regularly.

Final Words

. . Last Chance U is a gripping documentary series that follows the journey of student-athletes at East Mississippi Community College. The best players of all time are those who have overcome obstacles and achieved success despite having little chance of doing so.

These athletes display grit, determination, and perseverance, qualities that are essential for any player to possess in order to succeed.

Photo of author

John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn

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