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Notre Dame Football

Character & Respect Matter for Notre Dame WR Coach Chansi Stuckey

February 21, 2022

Chansi Stuckey might not have the experience of others on the recruiting trail, but he also has a few tricks in his back pocket others crave.

Stuckey has played under the bright lights at Clemson and then went on to have a career in the NFL. He was mentored by Dabo Swinney and Dave Aranda, who are two of the brightest coaches in the game. Earlier this year, Tony Elliott was named Virginia's head coach and it's easy to see how Stuckey found himself at Notre Dame. 

"It's awesome because the only thing I've seen in coaching by those two guys is who I want to be," Stuckey stated last week. "They're husbands first and fathers second and then they get the opportunity to lead men. They treat everyone the same. They treat them like their own children." 

The mindset of treating his players like his own came from his own father, but Stuckey also knows it's important the parents of prospects know his values. 

"Talking to people, having the opportunity to serve someone else's vision," Stuckey said of his passion for recruiting. "These kids who come here get a phenomenal education and have the experiences of a lifetime. I get to help people, be an integral part. That's what drives me. I get to talk to parents from California to Texas to all kinds of different places. It's a united vision.

"I tell the parents, I want to take what you've done and I want to continue that. I'm not here to try to change. I just want to continue to say what you've said, do what you do, so we're together. I'll help you mold the man you see when he comes back home. He better be different than when you sent him to me." 

It's a role Stuckey also takes seriously as a father himself. The players he brings to Notre Dame will set an example for his children. 

"These are the next generation of leaders that my five-year-old is going to say, 'Hey, dad, there's so and so.' 

"So I can say I had a part in helping him get to where he wanted to be and ultimately, it will affect my son and the generational stuff just keeps happening."

If you talk to Stuckey, you might not even know he had a prolific college career and played in the NFL. 

Stuckey isn't one to mention the NFL to recruits as an intro and that's by design. 

"I don't talk about it as much as one would think," said explained Stuckey. "I'm keeping it as an ace in the hole in my back pocket. I find that these kids from this generation nowadays want to see the proof in the pudding. So you bring up examples of guys you see: Tee Higgins is in the NFL. Tyquan Thorton is in the NFL.

"What they did and how they prepare and these are the results because they did X, Y and Z. You go back to my experiences. This guy, this is what he did every single day. This is the way he worked and he started. If you say it enough, they start to really believe I can be kind of good, this may work, this may translate. And then they see the results and then it becomes an effect where in the room everyone holds each other accountable and they're being the best version of themselves." 

And while it's only been a few weeks on the job, it's safe to say Stuckey understands the role he's in and has found the respect that comes with being part of the Notre Dame program. 

"Respect, the way you carry yourself. You're influencing people young and old, whether you know it or not. You're always being watched, so always be above reproach. That's one thing I really hold dear to my heart. Always be a representative of every coach, every person that has come through here, every fan. I take that seriously.

"I had a cool little situation on the plane where I'm sitting beside this guy and he didn't realize I was a football coach until after the fact. And it meant so much to him. He was like, 'I love the way you carry yourself. You represent us well.'

"That meant a lot to me. He can say that's my coach. I can say that's one of my guys. It's just a beautiful family connection where you don't know each other, but the Notre Dame bond brings you together and that means a lot."

Offensive coordinator Tommy Rees saw the dynamic personality immediately during the interview process, which sold him and Marcus Freeman on Stuckey being the perfect fit for the Notre Dame program. 

“The moment you're around him, there's an energy, there's a personality there that you immediately put your belief in someone like that. I'm a young coach,” said Rees. “I was hired as a young coach. Coach Freeman is a young coach. We were all given opportunities when some people didn't think we were ready. He played the game at an extremely high level. He was on staff at Clemson, where they do things the right way for a few years, and then got to run a room and they had a great year of Baylor.

“The notion of the inexperience, I really don't look at it that way. He's been in football for an extremely long time and when you meet the person of who he is, you know that he's going to be able to one, relate to recruits and have credibility, but two, also help guide and mentor the guys we have on our roster right now."

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