'Last Chance U' adviser on getting young football players back on track

Brittany Wagner, who appeared in the Netflix docu-series, is an academic coach who helps struggling student athletes find success, with some making it to the NFL.
7:50 | 10/24/17

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Transcript for 'Last Chance U' adviser on getting young football players back on track
How many of you want to leave here and go to college? It's just hours before the game but these football plarps in Madison high in Michigan are laser focused on this woman, Brittany Wagner. You can do it. She knows the secret to success. A dozen NFL football players that were students. I begged and I pleaded and cried. She was at the east Mississippi community college. A place where many were dropped from elite programs. I had a daughter. I failed two drug tests. They ended up charges me with second degree felony. Based in Mississippi, Netflix dubbed it "Last chance U." What does it mean, the title? We took chances on a lot of kids that nobody else would take a chance on. They were the discards? Yeah, and no one wanted a stig that ma with the kids with a record or deep academic or social issues. There are 120rryes in this room that if you told me, I would ntd believe. Stories like Dominic rouse. The senior with a lot riding on this season. Football is everything. I have been playing the game since I was 8. Team captain and middle linebacker, minicknamed butter. Brittany is at this high school just outside Detroit where virtually all the students qualify for free lunch. These guys you saw on the TV show. They sat in locker rooms just like this. You going to get a big hit the for me tonight? She is training teachers and counselors to work with people like butter. You look at a lot of kids and you're like, same story, same story. What is the secret? I do think it's about caring about people. You don't see people as humans until you are human yourself. Where we going? Okay. They are all four together in a little clone. I don't think that's going to work. Do athletes get special privileges? Do they get to live by a different set of rules? I don't think so. For some, football is the only opportunity they have to be in college. And when you take that away from them, you take away all of that. And now what? I feel anxious. I feel nervous, I feel excited. Deandre Johnson is one of the students. Johnson does charged with misdemeanor battery and kicked off the football team. He made headlines for punching a woman in a bar. I totally have a walked away. He pled guilty to a misdeemer. A lot of people say, they will take chances on a lot of people but not that one. But again, do you ruin someone's entire life. He is now the quarterback at Florida atlantic university. Some people will say, look at the NFL. You get athletes that are dis beha misbehaving. ? Do they? Or is the microscope on them? We have politicians doing the same thing. And we want someone to be the scapegoat and we peg it on athletes. Up hated me. It's okay that you hated me. You don't hate me anymore. For players like Ollie, football isn't just a game. I heard you got hurt yesterday? I had to do a tackle -- A lot of times when you look in the skutudents' home lives, they are really missing basics. I never really thought about it. I cannot imagine being 7, 8 years old and having to worry about what I was going to eat. And then we hold that kid to the same standard that we hold me to. How is that fair? We want to beat them up because -- because they play football? Because they make a mistake? It's a freaking miracle they are even functioning at 18. Butter admits he made his fair share of mistakes. He had to fight to play football at Madison high. Superintendent Randy speck gave him that chance. He said, I made mistakes and I'm ready to learn from it. When you see a young man say that, he can get five more chances. And butter says he wants to make good on the chances for his 1-year-old son, Dominic Jr. I see myself. It's a little me. He became father to little butter at age 15. My son right now, I'm still trying to be the best I can. I don't want him to feel like his dad don't love him. He said his own dad showed him a lot of love. But the day before we met butter, his dad gave him news, he was going to prison. Yesterday, I found out my dad -- so I mean -- That's deep. Yeah. His father tells her son to take out his frustrations on the field. I think it's because of the situation. Like he's got something to prove. Despite the new impossible odds, she's convinced he will end up in the NFL. I have faith in him. I have faith in our god that it's going to happen. I don't have -- There needs to be a plan "B" for the rest of your life. You're not going to play football the rest of your life. But maybe not having a plan "B" will at least get to you a college. At eight year, Brittany started his own firm 10,000 pencils to help kids around the country. Speck was among the first to hire here. Why do you place so much faith in Brittany? If you understand relationships and commitments, you will get results. Speck has skmicommitments for a double-double improvement on the district test scores. You cannot have success in challenging places without dedemps, without grace. You have to have it. Now Brittany is working across the district to 3wi8d relationships. Counselors like Stacy coaly say the tips and tricks are working. We don't have anyone slipping through the cracks anymore. Is success to you a sort of glittering NFL contract? No. I have had players call me and say miss Wagner, I'm a truck driver. And you know what? I have insurance. Miss Wagner, I have a schoolteacher. I teach biology at mir high school and I'm coaching the quarterback at the high school. Success. You don't count it in football? No, you have wins and losses in life Moren the wins.

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