Chansi Stuckey could snag the ball and skedaddle.
As a junior wide receiver at Clemson, he led the ACC in receptions and was third in yards. The following season he was third in receptions and second in yards.
And after being chosen by the Jets in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft, he could have also been confused for a wide-eyed sightseer.
"Growing up in (Warner Robins) Georgia, New York is this big, unobtainable place, the 'Concrete Jungle.' I honestly felt surprised and a little nervous at the same time because I knew it was going to be totally different from anything I had experienced," Stuckey said.
"The traffic, most of all, was wild. And New York City, just the amount of buildings in a small space, and the amount of people, it was just like, wow, this is a lot going on at one time and you need to get ready for it in a hurry."
Feeling more at home on the practice fields at Hofstra rather than in the shadows of skyscrapers, Stuckey stood out during training camp and the preseason games. Unfortunately, a broken left foot led him to being placed on the season-long Injured Reserve list.
He used that time to not only heal, but to learn everything he could about New York's offense.
"(Offensive coordinator) Coach Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer] and (Head) Coach (Eric) Mangini made it very evident that you can use this time to get better or just kind of stay the same," Stuckey said.
"So I was in every single meeting even though I was on I.R. Every offensive meeting, every special teams meeting. Just to watch and learn and see how guys progress and what it really takes to be in the NFL. And by the time I got ready to play again, I felt like I knew everything I needed to know so I could hit the ground running."
Stuckey also had the advantage of starting his career with a veteran teammate in his corner.
"Jerricho Cotchery was by far probably the most influential teammate I had while I was in the NFL," Stuckey said. "He taught me how to practice. He taught me how to study film. He taught me how to carry myself as an NFL player. Everything that I had learned about the NFL, I got from Jerricho."
In his first game, the 2008 season opener in Miami, Stuckey's first reception was a 22-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre, helping the Jets win, 20-14.
"That was back when you still had the stadium double as a baseball stadium, so there was dirt on the field. Catching the ball at shortstop and it hurt sometimes," Stuckey said. "But I remember vividly that it was a broken-down play and Brett rolled to the opposite side.
"I started coming across the field and felt for sure that someone was running with me. The ball seemed to be in the air forever. It was one of those balls where it was just like, wow, I knew somebody was going to make a play on the ball, but nobody was there. First touchdown. From Brett Favre. It was just awesome."
The awesomeness continued the next game when Stuckey scored a touchdown against New England. And the game after that in San Diego when the end zone again.
"Things were going really good, and then I guess guys started to pay attention," Stuckey said. "We also had Laveranues Coles, who started slow but came on really, really strong. Jerricho was No. 1 and Coles was No. 2. So those were the veteran guys we were winning with. I just kind of got in where I fit in."
The following season, it was determined that Rex Ryan may be a better fit on the Jets' sideline, and he replaced Mangini as the head coach.
"It was a big change. You heard a lot about Rex. He was very straight up and straight forward. And he came with a lot of energy," Stuckey said. "You know, anytime there's something different, usually human nature means you're going to be excited about it.
"But you kind of want to see what's going to happen. Team's usually take on the character of their coach, so I was kind of excited about thinking we're in New York, we're going to take it to everybody."
But after four games, Stuckey found himself in Cleveland as part of New York's trade with the Browns for wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
"(Offensive coordinator Brian) Daboll, who just got the (head coaching) job with the Giants, I was looking forward to working with him," Stuckey said. "And being back with (then-Browns) Coach Mangini and a couple of my other buddies, Eric Barton and Kenyon Coleman, it was just kind of the Jets team now in Cleveland."
After concluding his playing career with the Browns and Arizona Cardinals, Stuckey would eventually make his way into coaching. First as a graduate assistant in 2019 as his alma mater, Clemson, where he'd be in an offensive player development role the following year.
"Coach (Dabo) Swinney, being my receiver coach (at Clemson) and being tight with him, he tried to get me once before and I kind of wasn't ready," Stuckey said. "I went to the (2018) National Championship Game (between Clemson and Alabama) and really just fell in love with the family atmosphere, seeing a lot of guys I played with being successful. Really having fun and doing it for the right reasons.
"Winning was a big byproduct of what they were trying to do and building young men. So I went back and debated about it for a week and really couldn't shake the bug. I felt like God was leading me into coaching and the impact I could have on people."
After spending the 2021 season as the wide receivers coach at Baylor, Stuckey was named to the same position on first-year head coach Marcus Freeman's staff at Notre Dame last month.
"It's a new chapter. A new energy. Guys seem invigorated. It's a younger coaching staff, guys that have coached at all kinds of great places," said Stuckey, who makes his home in South Bend with his wife, Summer, and their son, Aiden. "Coach Freeman has done an awesome job of trying to get the right people in the building, and I think the players, as we begin to work out and see them around, I think they feel it and believe in it as well."