Notre Dame reportedly has its next wide receiver coach. According to a report last night from The Athletic’s Pete Sampson, Notre Dame is set to hire Baylor Wide Receiver coach Chansi Stuckey to replace Del Alexander who oversaw the decimation of the Notre Dame receiver room over the last 12 months. Stuckey, an inexperienced but potential rising star, will now be tasked with rebuilding a room that needs a total reboot.
According to Sampson, Notre Dame also interviewed Purdue’s JaMarcus Shephard but moved forward with Stuckey even though Shepard had more coaching experience even though both were the same age (38). Stuckey spent just one season as the wide receiver coach at Baylor after two years in support roles at his alma mater Clemson – one season as a graduate assistant and another as an offensive player development coach.
Stuckey was not one of the names linked to Notre Dame for the last week but came on strong on Wednesday. Shepard and Alabama WR coach Holoman Wiggins were tied to Notre Dame the most, but Stuckey interviewed with the Irish on Wednesday and, by all accounts, blew Notre Dame away in the process.
In his one season as the Baylor receivers coach, Stuckey helped Tyquan Thorton have the best season of his career with 62 receptions for 948 yards and 10 TDs.
Stuckey spent five years in the NFL after graduating from Clemson with stops in New York (Jets), Cleveland, and Arizona. Over those five seasons, Stuckey hauled in 106 passes for 1,062 yards and 5 TDs. While in Arizona, Stuckey was coached by John McNulty, who was the receivers coach for the Cardinals at the time.
The move came as a bit of a surprise and carries with it some risk. But, at the same time, it also has the potential for greater reward. Shephard was the more established coach, but as an Indiana native who coached in Kentucky, Washington, and Indiana, his recruiting connections weren’t as attractive as Stuckey’s after playing and coaching at Clemson and coaching in Texas for a year in addition to being from Georgia.
Shephard would have been the much safer bet for Marcus Freeman. Still, the fact that Stuckey was reportedly so impressive that Notre Dame moved to make him their next wide receiver coach the day he interviewed suggests Freeman and Tommy Rees (who reportedly had a significant say in the offensive hires) think Stuckey has the potential for the greater reward.
Daunting Task Ahead
Stuckey has the daunting task of rebuilding the Notre Dame wide receiver room decimated over the last year. Even with the return of Avery Davis, Braden Lenzy, and Joe Wilkins for fifth and sith years, Notre Dame presently has just seven scholarship receivers on the roster for 2022.
Part of the reason for the decimation of the room was the 11th-hour defections of CJ Williams and Amorion Walker. Those decommitments made the decision to not aggressively push for a 4th receiver back in the summer look even more puzzling since the Irish signed just one receiver in December.
Notre Dame has been linked to two different late signing class of 2022 receivers – Justius Lowe and Caleb Douglas. As soon as Stuckey is officially on staff, he will likely be all over both.
Even before the decommitments, transfers and recruiting misses in both the 2019 and 2020 classes left Notre Dame extremely thin at the position. Notre Dame will not have a single receiver in its junior or senior classes that they recruited on the roster in 2022. That means that the Irish have to nail the 2023 wide receiver class even with another late wide receiver signee or transfer.
Baylor WR RJ Sneed In Transfer Portal
One potential transfer portal target for Notre Dame with Stuckey on staff is Baylor wide receiver, RJ Sneed. Sneed will be a 6th year senior in 2022 but has a year left from the 2020 COVID season. For his career, he has 133 receptions for 1,564 yards and 8 TDs. He had career highs of 46 receptions and 573 yards this past season while coached by Stuckey. He also registered a career-long of 69 yards after coming into the season with a previous high of 39-yards.
There hasn’t been any indication if either Notre Dame or Sneed is interested in each other at this point, but if Notre Dame wants to add an established player through the portal, Sneed looks like a great fit on paper.