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February 3, 2007
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Former Clemson wide receiver Chansi Stuckey capped his Tigers' career with five catches for 93 yards against Kentucky in the Music City Bowl. He finished his senior season with 50 catches for 700 yards. The numbers were down slightly from his junior season, but Stuckey missed three games because of a broken foot. In the end, the fifth-year senior had few regrets about returning for his final season of eligibility. In the first entry of his Rivals.com NFL Draft Diary, Stuckey explains why he came back and how he hopes he turned his injury into a good thing in the eyes of the NFL.
Did you give any thought to leaving for the NFL a year ago at this time?
There was a little bit ? it would probably have been a good decision to come out last year because not many receivers were coming out. But having played receiver for only a year and a half, I think it was best to come back. It was worth it to keep learning the position, learning the techniques and really just get better catching the ball and minimizing drops.
You missed three games this season with a broken foot but came back to finish the season. When it happened were there any thoughts that you made the wrong choice?
At first, because I thought it might be something the NFL could bash me about. But I kind of turned it around, being able to come back so quickly. I think I really turned a negative into a positive by coming back and playing.
Does the fact that you finished your degree in sports management before the season make it easier for you to focus on getting ready for the draft?
Definitely. During the season, you still have to go to class and make grades, but you're not taking all the tough classes that you would at the end of your major. So it wasn't as tough as some other guys had it. And now I am done, so if I want to go back at any point it will just be to continue for my masters.
What were your expectations heading into the Senior Bowl?
My expectations were really just to go back and solidify what they thought about me against really good corners and with really good receivers there. I think I did that and showed my play-making ability. Working with coaches who don't know you was tough at first, but as the week went on it got better. As long as you do your part and do the work, you'll be fine.
You didn't return kicks at all this past season at Clemson. Is that something you are working on?
Yeah, a lot of people were asking me about it and said they were glad to see me doing it at the Senior Bowl. I had done it at Clemson, but it was more than a year since I had caught kicks. I thought I might be rusty, but it went pretty well and I'm glad I did it. Anything like that is just added value.
Coming Next Week: A typical day in Stuckey's preparation for the NFL Combine.