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Friday, April 19, 2024
The Observer

Irish part ways with wide receivers coach Stuckey

A Notre Dame golden helmet shines in the South Carolina sun during the game between Notre Dame and Clemson at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 4.

After losing three members of their roster to the transfer portal on Monday, Notre Dame football shook up its coaching staff Tuesday. The team parted ways with wide receivers coach Chansi Stuckey. John Brice of Football Scoops was the first to report the news.

Stuckey joined the Irish in 2022 as one of many new assistants after Freeman took over as head coach. He previously served as the wide receivers coach at Baylor. Prior to that, Stuckey spent two years on Clemson's staff, where he also played in college. Stuckey played in the NFL for three teams from 2008-2011.

"Over the past few days, we had continued discussions on the overall performance of our wide receiver group and my expectations for the development of that position. I decided it was in the program's best interest to part ways," Freeman said in a release Tuesday.

On one hand, Notre Dame's recruiting efforts improved during Stuckey's two-year tenure. The Irish brought in a trio of four-star wide receivers in their 2023 class. Rico Flores Jr. and Jaden Greathouse made an impact in their first year in South Bend. Tobias Merriweather, another four-star wideout, also committed to the program the year before. Notre Dame has three more four-star commitments lined up for this year, headlined by Cam Williams, the No. 8 receiver in the class of 2024 and the second-highest-rated Irish commit, according to 247 Sports.

On the other hand, however, the production from Irish receivers over the last few years has underwhelmed. Over the last two seasons, the Irish have had exactly one 100-yard receiving game by a wideout (Flores Jr. against Wake Forest). In 2022, Irish receivers combined for just 10 touchdowns, one fewer than tight end Michael Mayer. This season, junior tight end Mitchell Evans led Notre Dame in catches and was second in receiving yards despite missing the final four games with a torn ACL. Merriweather, junior Deion Colzie (who was injured for most of this season) and others have struggled to develop into consistent playmakers.

Meanwhile, senior defensive lineman Aidan Keanaaina became the latest Irish player to enter the portal (including Notre Dame's receiving yardage leader Chris Tyree). Keanaaina played in six games this year, making 11 tackles, including 1.5 for a loss and 0.5 sacks.

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