For Haleem Muhammad, It’s All About Camden’s Success

Football coaches at every level are drawn to smart players. They want players who make good decisions on the fly. Smart players win games. After listening to Camden High School’s Haleem Muhammad (DE/TE) talk about how his offseason is going, how he looks back on the 2023 Panthers season and what he hopes will be a successful 2024 campaign for Camden, it is easy to see why Muhammad is a student-athlete any coach would love to have in his program.

Coach Rob Hinson

The Panthers are led by one the best high school coaches anywhere in Rob Hinson. Hinson is heading into his third season with Camden. He spent the previous two seasons on staff at Rutgers, where he worked under Eric Josephs in a player development role and also worked with Bob Fraser and Rutgers’ linebackers. Hinson’s record as a South Jersey head football coach is elite. He posted a record of 114-43 in 14 seasons at Timber Creek, where his teams won four sectional titles, reached seven title games, captured seven conference championships, and qualified for the playoffs 12 times.

Under his leadership, Timber Creek won three South Jersey Group 4 titles – 2012, 2015, and 2016. The Chargers won the South Jersey Group 3 title in 2011 and played in the 2009 final. Hinson’s 2011 and 2016 teams went undefeated, posting 12-0 records.

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Muhammed said he can see why his head coach is so successful.

“Coach Hinson, he brings a lot of grit to young kids,” Muhammed said. “He sees stuff that we don’t see. Stuff that we thought was OK, or thought this was it, he shows us the correct way to play. He’s a mastermind at football.

“He’s a great guy, he’s a mentor. He always puts his kids first and that’s a great coach you can play under.”

Haleem Muhammad

The 6-foot-2 ½, 210-pound junior to-be talked about the Panthers’ 2023 season, which, by normal standards, would be considered a success. Camden’s only regular-season loss was to the Lake Taylor Titans in Norfolk, VA, in the season opener, 37-18. The Panthers went on to win ten consecutive games, including three playoff games against Carteret, Holmdel, and Cedar Creek. Camden’s second loss of the season came in the Group 3 semi-finals to eventual champion Delsea, 28-12.

“The season in general, it was good,” Muhammed said. “We all came out every day at practice and took things game-by-game. We weren’t thinking about playoffs, or who we were going to play. We were getting within ourselves and the coaching staff…it was amazing. They pushed us to our limits every day.”

It is Not All About Individual Stats

Muhammad did not fill the stat sheet, although he played a lot. “Yessir, you’re right.” But he helped the Panthers in many ways come within one game of playing for a state championship. Muhammad felt uncomfortable talking about personal goals related to stats. Everything with him is about the team.

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“Definitely a goal is to win states,” Muhammad said. “I want to bring a new legacy to Camden High…for me and all the youth coming behind me. I want to set an example this year and for the upcoming seniors.

“They pushed it hard, we have a couple of seniors who are four-year players and set a great example. They’ve been teaching me…I’ve known some of them since eighth grade. It’s been an honor to play with them one more year.”

Training

Muhammad said he trains at school (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and Adrenaline Sports Performance (Tuesday and Thursday) in Cherry Hill to keep getting better. ”I’m working every day.”

Adrenaline owner and training guru Chad Hallett talked about Muhammad’s progress.

“Haleem comes in with great size and athleticism,” Hallett said. The work we are

Putting in this offseason, he will have an explosive junior campaign. We have been focusing on putting more musculature on his frame and increasing speed and explosion. Haleem is a very humble and respectable kid any coach would be pleased to have him.”

Pressed about his goals statistically, Muhammad said he just wants to use his athletic ability and football skills to win games for the Panthers.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day,” Muhammad said. “I definitely want to get stronger and faster going into my junior year. We’re going to play a lot of good people, just like me, so I definitely want to get my speed up, get faster…I want to be quicker on the field than I am now. Those are really my goals.”

A Few Seniors Muhammad Looks Up To

Footballstories asked Muhammad to profile a few seniors he looks up to.  

Senior center/defensive lineman Israel Banks, “He is a four-year starter here at Camden High,” Muhammad said. “He’s been a captain since he was a sophomore and can play anywhere on the offensive line…like Cesar Ruiz (former Camden star now with New Orleans Saints). He has the same build.”

Senior wide receiver/defensive Azir Lee. “He’s just an athlete,” Muhammad said. “A receiver and corner. He’s been guiding us since he was a sophomore.”

Senior D’hani Cobbs (WR, RB, DB), “He’s an athlete who can play receiver and corner as well.”

Goals

As a tight end, Muhammad, talked about his goals at that position. “My goal is to get better at blocking,” He said. “I want to get better route running and give our offense a better chance to score.”

Muhammad’s favorite non-Eagles NFL Player is former Penn State standout and All-Pro linebacker Micah Parsons. Favorite Eagle? “Of course,” Haason Reddick, “He’s my guy right there,” Muhammad said. “I’ve played with his (two) little brothers in little league.”

Muhammad said he has received interest from football programs in the ACC and SEC, “I’m not worrying about colleges right now, though; I’m just focusing on getting better.” After meeting Muhammad, that is the only answer you’d expect. *

Email Al Thompson al.thompson@footballstories.com

Al Thompson
Al Thompson

Covers High School, College and Pro Sports for the last 35 years, Writer, radio host and Sports Director at WRDV Radio 89.3 FM in Hatboro, PA. Publisher, Editor of Footballstories The Magazine. Author of “The Gilmore Years.”

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