Two years ago, Chansi Stuckey made the switch from quarterback to wide receiver. The move was designed to give Clemson a dangerous playmaker on the outside. Following the spring practice in 2004, Clemson wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney said Stuckey was better than Freddie Milons.
It was bold statement considering Milons is Alabama’s all-time leading receiver. The bar was set for Stuckey and the expectations were a little premature.
Stuckey busted out with 112 yard receiving performance in his first game against Wake Forest. The remaining 10 games he battled injury, and he was not the player he could be.
This season Stuckey showed signs of progress early. He returned a punt for a touchdown in the season opener versus Texas A&M. However, Stuckey was still not performing up to expectations as a receiver.
Through the first five games of the season, Stuckey was averaging 43.4 yards per game receiving. Then the Tigers went to Raleigh, and the light came on for Stuckey
Against the Wolfpack, Stuckey had eight catches for 103 yards, his first 100-yard game since the open in ’04 against Wake Forest. Stuckey has now delivered back-to-back 100-yard performances against Duke and Florida State. In the last five games, he is averaging 103.6 yards receiving per game. Stuckey said the turnaround has more to do with repetition in the offense.
“It was just one of things where you are looking at film. Early in the season, you are just learning how to do it. Now the linemen are getting out on time, the throw is on time, and I am able to hit the chute they are making,” said Stuckey.
The offense under Rob Spence is designed to get the ball in the hands of a playmaker like Stuckey underneath and let him build yards after the catch. Stuckey says he realizes his recent performances will make him a marked man.
“That’s how it is. When you start making plays, people will start noticing you on film. You have to overcome what the defense tries to do.”
Stuckey will be a marked man by South Carolina defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix Saturday night. Stuckey did score the final touchdown against South Carolina on the Tigers’ last trip to Columbia.