Chansi Stuckey Delivers for Notre Dame in First Wide Receiver Class

A year ago, on the early Signing Day, one of the biggest storylines for Notre Dame was the huge miss at wide receiver from former wide receiver coach Del Alexander. Needing a big hit at receiver, Alexander whiffed big time with just a lone signee after losing two commitments in the final week. A year later, Chansi Stuckey showed why Marcus Freeman was wise not to retain Alexander and replace him with the up-and-coming Stuckey despite his lack of experience.

Notre Dame signed four wide receivers on Wednesday, including three four-star players a year after inking just one, albeit very talented, wide receiver in Tobias Merriweather. Stuckey dialed up his Texas connections from his brief time at Baylor to reel in three receivers from the Lone Star State and a fourth from California, giving Notre Dame one of its best wide receiver classes in years.

In less than a year on the job, Stuckey signed more receivers in a single class than Alexander ever did during his time at Notre Dame. When all the signatures were in, Notre Dame added:

  • Rico Flores (6-0, 177 lbs, 4-star, North Highlands, CA)
  • Jaden Greathouse (6-2, 200 lbs, 4-star, Austin, TX)
  • Braylon James (6-2, 191 lbs, 4-star, Austin, TX)
  • Kaleb Smith (5-11, 170 lbs, 3-star, Frisco, TX)

Not only is the group of receivers Notre Dame signed highly talented, but they also complement each other extremely well too. Flores and James are prototypical outside receivers, while Greathouse could play outside or inside as a big slot. Smith is the smaller, speedy receiver who is more of the prototypical slot receiver. All are very talented. All of whom bring a little something unique to the offense.

As a senior this year, Rico Flores hauled in 72 receptions for 1,081 yards and eight touchdowns for Folsom High. During his prep career, Flores totaled 32 touchdowns and over 3,000 yards. Flores had offers from Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Oregon, Ohio State, USC, UCLA, and Texas.

Of all the wide receivers Notre Dame signed today, Jaden Greathouse is the most advanced and likely to see the field in 2023. Greathouse had a prolific career for Westlake High with 232 receptions, 4,035 yards, and 53 touchdowns. The 4,035 receiving yards are the 15th-most in Texas high school football history. He held offers from Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Oregon, Penn State, and USC.

Braylon James is an Under Armour All-American after finishing his career with 1,795 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns – 727 of those yards and five touchdowns came on 38 catches this past fall. Arizona State, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Texas, USC, and Texas A&M all offered. James gives Notre Dame a big-bodied outside receiver in the class.

The speedster of the group, Kaleb Smith caught 59 passes for 832 yards and seven touchdowns in 2022 for Reedy High in Frisco, Texas. He initially committed to Texas Tech, but flipped to Notre Dame during the season after the Irish turned up the heat in their pursuit after moving on from Taeshon Lyons.

A year ago, Notre Dame signed only Merriweather. Three years ago, Notre Dame signed a class of receivers that included Jordan Johnson, Jay Brunelle, and Xavier Watts. Only Watts remains on the roster but is now a full-time safety. Sandwiched between those two classes that have netted Notre Dame just a single receiver after three years was the class of 2021, which does look like a hit featuring Deion Colzie, Jayden Thomas, and Lorenzo Styles.

The last time Notre Dame signed four receivers in a single class was in 2018 – Kevin Austin, Braden Lenzy, Lawrence Keys, and Micah Jones. Notre Dame is hopeful this year’s quartet is more successful, considering Jones and Keys didn’t finish their careers at Notre Dame, and between Austin and Lenzy, the two combined for just one season of more than 500 yards receiving.

The last few years of recruiting classes highlight how poorly Notre Dame has recruited the position outside of the class of 2021 trio of Styles, Thomas, and Colzie. Even that group still has more potential than production though Colzie and Thomas are ascending, and Styles flashed his talent last year even if 2022 was a disappointing campaign for the sophomore.

Stuckey already showed he could develop receivers with his work with Colzie and Thomas this year. In addition, he showed what he could on the recruiting trail on Wednesday with the haul he reeled in. If his first year with Notre Dame indicates things to come, the fortunes of the wide receiver room should be much brighter shortly.

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  1. I looked up the definition of commitment: An agreement or pledge to do something in the future.
    The whole signing period is a joke. They shouldn’t even talk about oral commitments from 17 yr olds, as they mean absolutely nothing. When the first signing period comes up, let’s see who puts their name on a piece of paper. Until then, I’m not interested.

    1. Maybe, but his girlfriend is headed to OK, and his best friend and QB from his HS, who originally showed interest in ND back when ND was all in for Dante Moore and wouldn’t offer him because they were afraid to lose Moore, which they obviously did, also will be at OK. This makes more sense than him going to Oregon, the hat he put on at his signing event yesterday. Who’s to say he’ll not be in the portal next year. NDs best chance at keeping their recruits are guys who are excited about coming to ND.

      1. The other Bowen, DRayk Bowen, the national Butkus award winner, Mr. Indiana player of the year, who reportedly did as much recruiting among keeping the incoming together than any other recruit, is the Bowen I’d prefer to focus on.

    2. Dooshbags have used the early commitment to ND grift for the immense, national exposure…..and to whip up interest from others….for many years.

      Most of them reap what they sow soon enough.

  2. College recruiting was an ever-worsening dirty game.
    And for any sensible ND fan, not worth the frustration of following.
    But it is now truly a farce.

    At least ACTUAL pro football has a draft order, contracts, and salary caps….to promote at least some semblance of competitive equity.
    “College” (?!) football has instead been mismanaged into chaos.

    A tad ironic that they’ll expand the playoff to 12 when they already know the annual list of legitimate contenders is already less than 5.
    Placating stupid fans by adding more “cannon fodder” names to the party.
    Money is money.

    1. I agree , this 12 team playoff is a joke. All your going to have is a Central Florida playing Alabama and in the middle of the third quarter the score will be 52 to 0.

    2. The sad thing is that Notre Dame has chosen to be cannon fodder, when they had every advantage to become a contender.

      Might as well bump down to FCS, if we won’t do what it takes to keep the coaches or bring in the players we need to compete

      1. Did you remember to ask Santa for a pimp-purple and piss-yellow jersey with “Kelly 00” on it ?
        Now go to bed…before Santa realizes you’re too stupid to bother with.

  3. Another recruiting class that will keep us right there in the second tier behind the truly elite programs. It’s nothing to turn your nose up at—it’s a really good class.

    But very disappointing after it looked like Freeman might have been putting together something special. But he’s a great recruiter who is running into many of the same problems as our last coach, who also happens to be a pretty good recruiter.

    1. Keith
      The difference is one is a tireless recruiter having to compete against projected $2 million + pay-to-play dollars (see Peyton Bowen, I don’t blame the kid, I blame the NCAA, not for NIL, but for ignoring the obvious pay-to-play money being offered to incoming recruits in violation of NIL guidelines), while the other coach mentioned, who never accomplished back-to-back top 10 classes since 2013, was tirelessly dedicated to lowering his golf handicap. For those interested: google ‘Irish breakdown’ on YouTube titled ND Signing Day which is a very long 5 hours and 56 minutes, including interviews with incoming recruits and even their families. But the beginning of the post is an interview with Tom Lemmings who clearly presents the lazy culpability of BK for most of his last 10 years, after inheriting elite classes (in ’06 & 08 preceding his arrival). ND won’t pay-to-play so ND fans should consider themselves lucky to have hired Freeman. His presser on signing day reveals the guy knows what he’s up against and unapologetically embraces how ND recruits.

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