Videos by OutKick
‘Miss Brittany’ Wagner was the breakout star of the hit Netflix series ‘Last Chance U,’ which documented the life of football players, coaches and teachers at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, Mississippi, like Za’Darius Smith. Known for her unwavering commitment to student-athletes as an academic advisor, she went above and beyond to help them overcome personal and academic challenges.
Wagner’s compassionate and empathetic approach resonated with viewers as she provided much-needed support and guidance to young athletes facing the pressures of college football and life. Her uplifting presence and tireless efforts made her an integral part of the show. She inspired both the athletes she worked with and the audience alike— famously always asking if they had a pencil.
Although Wagner has since gone on to leave EMCC for other opportunities, her time with the Lions led her to build life-long relationships with the athletes she advised. And those relationships are still paying dividends today.
Take Za’Darius Smith for example!
The 30-year-old, three-time Pro Bowl defensive end is entering his first season with the Cleveland Browns. He spent the last eight years with the Ravens, Packers and Vikings.
Smith played basketball all throughout high school and did not start playing football until his senior year. As a result, he was severely under-recruited and began his college football career with two years at EMCC before blossoming into a fourth-round NFL Draft pick at Kentucky.
Although Smith left EMCC in 2012, Wagner’s mentorship sticks with him still today— 11 years later.
Wagner recently revealed that she returned home to a package on her front porch. She didn’t know what it was. It wasn’t anything that she had ordered and she didn’t recognize the return address.
After opening it up, Wagner found a check with her name on it. The check was signed by Za’Darius Smith.
Although Za’Darius Smith is long removed from his time Scooba, he continues to recognize the role that Wagner played in his success. Pretty cool!