Notre Dame reportedly pulls former Clemson staffer from Baylor to be WRs coach

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Notre Dame will hire Chansi Stuckey from Baylor as the next Irish receivers coach, per multiple reports on Wednesday evening.

The Athletic’s Pete Sampson first reported the expectation of Stuckey’s hiring, with Irish Illustrated’s Tim Prister soon confirming it.

Stuckey has worked as an on-field assistant coach for only one season, coaching the Bears’ receivers in 2021. Before that, he spent two years at Clemson, his alma mater, first as a graduate assistant and then in an offensive player development role.

The Tigers receivers starred in 2020, as tends to be the case there, particularly with head coach Dabo Swinney’s background as a receivers coach. Amari Rodgers caught 77 passes for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns on his way to being a third-round draft pick for the Green Bay Packers, and Cornell Powell enjoyed an unexpected breakout season with 53 catches for 882 yards and seven touchdowns. Powell had 40 career catches in his first four seasons at Clemson before that starring role in 2020 catapulted him to being a fifth-round draft pick for the Kansas City Chiefs.

This past season at Baylor, three receivers caught at least 30 passes. For two of them, it was a breakout campaign somewhat similar to Powell’s, if not as nationally noticed. (A two-loss Baylor simply does not get the attention a Playoff-bound Clemson does.)

Drew Estrada, a Dartmouth transfer, caught 30 passes for 367 yards and a touchdown, and senior Tyquan Thornton led the Bears with 62 receptions for 942 yards and 10 touchdowns. In three previous seasons, Thornton had caught 81 total passes for 1,294 yards.

Stuckey, 38, played at Clemson from 2003-06, earning first-team All-ACC honors in 2006. He then spent five seasons knocking around the NFL, including playing nine games for the Arizona Cardinals in 2011. The Cardinals receivers coach then? None other than current Notre Dame tight ends coach John McNulty, perhaps explaining how Stuckey first got onto the Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees’ radar.

With Stuckey joining reported offensive line hire Harry Hiestand and reported new special teams coordinator Brian Mason, Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman now needs to find only a defensive coordinator to complete his first coaching staff.

WILKINS RETURNS
Stuckey will take over a receivers group that is thin but veteran. Senior Joe Wilkins announced Tuesday he will return for a fifth season after a meniscus injury cut short his 2021.

Between Wilkins, Avery Davis and Braden Lenzy, the Irish have three veterans who have all flashed at various points in their careers. After them, though, Notre Dame has no receivers other than a trio of current freshmen — Lorenzo Styles, Deion Colzie and Jayden Thomas — and incoming freshman Tobias Merriweather.

NFL-bound with eligibility remaining: Safety Kyle Hamilton, running back Kyren Williams, receiver Kevin Austin, linebacker Isaiah Pryor, defensive end Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa.
Returning: Receiver Braden Lenzy, safety Houston Griffith, offensive lineman Josh Lugg, defensive end Justin Ademilola, defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola, safety DJ Brown, defensive end Isaiah Foskey, center Jarrett Patterson, receiver Avery Davis, receiver Joe Wilkins.
Expected to transfer out: Safety Khari Gee, linebacker Shayne Simon, punter Jay Bramblett, linebacker Paul Moala, offensive lineman Quinn Carroll, cornerback Caleb Offord.