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Chansi Stuckey Fired: What Went Wrong?

Written by Liam Gaudet|Senior Editor|Twitter/X: @LiamGaudetIT

Photo by Notre Dame Athletics


In what appears to be extremely comedic timing, it was reported today by John Brice that Notre Dame would be moving on from Chansi Stuckey, who served as the wide receivers coach for the Irish over the past two seasons. Stuckey, who came by way of the Baylor Bears after the departure of Del Alexander, had produced some promising dividends on the recruiting trail. As far as on-field performance goes, however, the results were mediocre to say the least. This move comes at a very peculiar time, as just yesterday, Head Coach Marcus Freeman had this to say:

"If it's up to me, as I just told the coaching staff and our staff, I have a strong belief in the coaches that we have in this football program and would love all of them to be back." - Freeman, via Tyler Horka

Now for obvious reasons, there is a lot of room to speculate with a quote like this, but I think it would be wise to sit and wait until more information is available. For now, I'd like to focus on Stuckey's tenure at Notre Dame and try to make sense of this move. So without further delay, let's dig in.





It's no secret that Chansi Stuckey was handed the keys to a wide receiver room that was on life support when he arrived at Notre Dame in 2022. Although he had inherited a lot of raw talent in names like Lorenzo Styles, Deion Colzie, Braden Lenzy etc., it was apparent that much had been lacking in the way of player development from his predecessor. In his first offseason at Notre Dame, Stuckey hit the ground running on the recruiting trail and secured multiple high level commitments from top-end talent in the class of 2023. Names like Jaden Greathouse, Rico Flores Jr, and Braylon James were instrumental pickups for Stuckey, who seemed to be proving his worth early. Braylon James went as far as to say that he likely would not have chosen Notre Dame if it weren't for the efforts and relationship that Stuckey worked to curate with him over the process of his recruitment. Things were looking good early for coach "Stuck", and as important as recruiting is for Coach Freeman, it was safe to say the move was panning out off the field.


In his first full season with the Irish, it was somewhat understandable that the receiving core underperformed. Much of the talent that Stuckey had gathered hadn't arrived on campus yet, so Stuckey had to play catch up in the development of the talent that was already on campus. Lorenzo Styles, Jayden Thomas and Braden Lenzy were to carry the bulk of the load for the Irish receivers, and that became a glaring issue. Granted, the dominance of Michael Mayer often made the Irish pass catchers a bit of an afterthought, but at times it seemed that if Mayer wasn't open, nobody was. Could this have been blamed on Offensive Coordinator Tommy Rees? A lot of fans thought so. But the brunt of the weight for the receivers lack of explosiveness and separation should lie solely on the shoulders of Chansi Stuckey. This daunting trend would continue through the majority of the season, even against well inferior opponents, compounded by the fact that Drew Pyne nor Tyler Buchner were able to play high level college football last season. Still, the receivers just couldn't seem to get open. Whatever was being done on Stuckey's end wasn't working, as Notre Dame's leading receiver Jayden Thomas amassed just 361 yards and three scores over the course of the season.





After building another solid foundation in recruiting which features Cam Williams, a five star talent at the position, Stuckey finally had some of his own players in the mix. Lorenzo Styles transferred out of the program, and Braden Lenzy would go on to retire from football as a whole. But even with these new faces, and even Jayden Thomas, who had been under Stuckey for a full season, the results were the same. All the talent in the world, and not much in the way of results. Many will point to Gerad Parker as the scapegoat for how abysmal the Irish passing game has been this season, but I believe there is a lot more at play. It's always nice to have a genuinely great recruiter, but when the chips are down, these kids need to be developed. Notre Dame's best performing receiver this season, Chris Tyree, has just entered his name in the transfer portal (and I wouldn't be surprised if more followed). It's unknown if there was any sort of internal conflict that took place between either Stuckey and Freeman, or Stuckey and his players, but that's also not entirely out of the question either. Coach Freeman made the executive decision to move on from Stuckey after two seasons of egregious output from a very talented room. The fact of the matter still stands - Notre Dame hasn't had elite wide receiver output in over half a decade.


In closing, I believe Marcus Freeman opted too heavily for the talent accumulation route as opposed to the developmental route when he hired Chansi Stuckey. Although Stuckey could get the athletes onto campus, his inexperience in their development was drastically overlooked. Other candidates at the time, such as Alabama's Holmon Wiggins, had proved they had what it took to get the best out of the talent in the room. Perhaps Coach Freeman will opt for a more proven candidate this time around, but time will tell. I wish Chansi Stuckey the very best of luck in his future endeavors, and thank him for his time at Notre Dame.



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