Marcus Freeman continues to work towards full assembly of his initial Notre Dame staff, and he’s on the cusp of a major hire at wide receivers coach while zeroing in on a top defensive target.
Sources confirm to FootballScoop that Freeman is finalizing a deal to hire former Clemson standout receiver Chansi Stuckey as the Irish’s wideouts coach, after the program earlier parted ways with Del Alexander following the team’s Fiesta Bowl appearance.
At defensive coordinator, Iowa State veteran defensive play-caller Jon Heacock has emerged as a priority target for the Irish’s top defensive position. Multiple sources tell FootballScoop that Heacock spent Tuesday in South Bend, Indiana, on the Notre Dame campus.
Heacock is a native of the Midwest, originally from Ohio, and a former head coach at former Football Championship Subdivision power Youngstown State. Heacock has spent the past six seasons with Matt Campbell at Iowa State, where Heacock has carved a reputation as one of college football’s great tacticians – especially as the Cyclones have leveled the playing field for their program in the Big 12 despite oftentimes not having the same depth of talent as the Oklahomas and Texases in the league.
Per sources, Heacock’s visit to Notre Dame left the Irish very impressed.
In Stuckey, Freeman & Co. are poised to add a coach who played the position at the highest collegiate levels, played professionally and has quickly risen through the coaching ranks since his decision to enter the coaching profession in 2019.
Stuckey has worked at his alma mater and most recently spent the 2021 season as the Baylor Bears’ wide receivers coach in what turned out to be a historic campaign for Baylor. The Bears closed their Big 12 championship-season with a win against Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl.
The Irish had focused their efforts on both Stuckey and Purdue’s JaMarcus Shephard, with Stuckey landing on Notre Dame’s radar over the weekend. Per sources, Dabo Swinney has raved about Stuckey’s personal character and his coaching potential.
Stuckey was on the Notre Dame campus throughout the day Wednesday, working towards finalizing the deal. The Athletic’s Pete Sampson first reported Stuckey was the expected hire.
JaMarcus Shephard also had been a top candidate for the wideouts job with the Irish; however, as first reported by Tom Dienhart, Shephard has verbally agreed to a deal to become the wide receivers coach on Kalen DeBoer's Washington Huskies staff, sources confirmed to FootballScoop.