Former Destrehan Wildcat resets his career at 'Last Chance U' - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Former Destrehan Wildcat resets his career at 'Last Chance U'

Scooba, Mississippi has a population of 732 people. (Source: Garland Gillen) Scooba, Mississippi has a population of 732 people. (Source: Garland Gillen)
Scooba, MS. -

Scooba, Mississippi. A speck on the map near the Alabama border. This town once possessed a vibrant downtown area, but now it sits vacant and boarded up. If you want groceries, well that's a 15-minute drive away.

"You only have two gas stations, and one Dollar general here," said EMCC wide receiver Kirk Merritt.

Scooba does flourish at one thing though, college football. East Mississippi Community College owns three national titles in the last six years.

"Around here we tell the kids it's books and ball. We're either in the classroom or the film room," said offensive coordinator David Boykin.

The popularity of the program expanded with Netflix's documentary series on the Lions. So how did little old Scooba, become Hollywood darlings. The name of the show, says it all, "Last Chance U."

Academic issues, legal issues, Head Coach Buddy Stephens takes them all.

"Everybody thinks about "Last Chance U."  I like to call it "Best Chance U." I like to call it "Next Chance U." It's not their last chance, it's their next chance," said Head Coach Buddy Stephens.

Kirk Merritt received scholarship offers from all the big-time programs while at Destrehan High. The wide receiver picked Oregon, but his time in Eugene lasted only one season.

"Just get closer to home, and my people weren't able to travel to Oregon that much," said Merritt.

Next stop, Texas A&M, but that wouldn't last long either.

On November 8th of last year, Merritt was arrested on two counts of indecent exposure. He pleaded "no contest" in a Texas court. In April, the Aggies dismissed Merritt from the program.

"It was tough at times, just having your face on the news, and stuff like that. {3:03-18} I really had to shut off my Twitter. A lot of people were tweeting about me and stuff. It was hard at times. A lot of hard stuff. I had to block people on Instagram, Twitter, all that."

Two programs in two years, Merritt needed a reset on his career. The ideal landing spot, Scooba.

They call it "Last Chance U." Is this Merritt's last chance to show he's left the past in the past.

I think you can say that. I have two years of eligibility after this. If you work hard it won't go unnoticed," said Merritt.

Nine games at EMCC, and you can't overlook Merritt's numbers. He's averaging 105 all-purpose yards per contest. Dangerous by air, and in the return game.

"Kirk is going to make someone really happy. He's so dynamic. His speed. When he decides to go, very few people can stop him," said Stephens.

Right now Merritt has an offer from Mississippi State, but hopes more schools flock to Scooba to see his exploits.

"I hope so. I hope so D-1 offers come rolling in," said a smiling Merritt. "The focus right now is on to the next week."

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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