The issues behind the wide receiver position for Notre Dame have been well documented over the last several years. That covers everything from coaching development to miscues on the recruiting trail.
Head coach Marcus Freeman was tasked with making sure that he hired the right wide receiver coach for his initial staff.
The wildcard of the off-season coaching hires, Chansi Stuckey comes with a good reputation but very little coaching experience to speak of. He only served one season as a full-time coach as a part of the Baylor program, helping a raw group show dramatic improvement during the 2021 season, eventually leading to Tyquan Thornton being selected in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Those are great signs from a coaching perspective.
From a recruiting perspective, however, there just wasn’t much to get excited about. It wasn’t something that Stuckey had much experience with in general and he didn't even complete a full cycle with the Bears.
So far, he is answering the questions in impressive fashion.
For a 2023 cycle that was in need of wide receivers, both from a depth and talent perspective, Stuckey has suddenly gotten the Irish in a very good spot with several talented pass catchers. Of course, the program was able to get a commitment from Round Rock (Texas) Stony Point wide receiver Braylon James. Landing a Top 100 recruit from the state of Texas is always big, and Stuckey began that relationship during his time with Baylor.
The same can be said for his previous relationship with Austin (Texas) Westlake star Jaden Greathouse, who was first offered by Baylor. Greathouse came into the Blue-Gold Game visit with intrigue but it wasn’t fully certain how serious the interest was. News flash, it was. They will need to close on this one but Greathouse is going to be on campus a couple of times over the next couple of months. Stuckey and staff have put themselves in a great spot ahead of his June 17-19 visit.
Some will say that Stuckey using those relationships doesn’t signify that he is actually a great recruiter, but it isn't just the Texas players he's made tremendous in roads with. Since Stuckey arrived in South Bend he has also hit it out of the park with Uniontown (Pa.) Laurel Highlights star athlete Rodney Gallagher.
What was once viewed as a bit of a long shot has quickly turned into a very, very realistic chance for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame has also continued to steadily move up the list for Folsom (Calif.) High School standout Rico Flores, another talented pass catcher that is slated to visit in June. Flores has a final three that includes the Irish, Ohio State and Georgia, and the Irish are surging.
Stuckey has quickly put himself in position to land an outstanding first receiver class.
Notre Dame fans shouldn't undervalue Cambridge (Mass.) Buckingham Browne and Nichols School pass catcher Ronan Hanafin, who has been on the board for some time. Once viewed as a pretty sure thing, Hanafin has been reeling in a long list of impressive offers recently, including Alabama, Clemson, USC, Oklahoma and Ohio State. This would be a huge recruiting win for Stuckey, despite what the recruiting ranking may say, but landing Hanafin won't be easy at this point
If Stuckey can turn this momentum into the ability to close he'll silence any questions and immediately put himself into the conversation as a force on the recruiting trail, one that receiver coaches around the country are going to have to contend with for years to come.
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