Georgia State’s Jamil Muhammad reliving his childhood on the defensive side of the ball

Georgia State’s Jamil Muhammad opens up on his transition from quarterback to linebacker. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

Changing positions in a highly competitive sport can be challenging. It requires a ton of mental and physical adjustment and time to get comfortable in your new home.  

For Jamil Muhammad, former quarterback on the Georgia State football team, change came after quickly moving to linebacker during the 2020 preseason camp.  

Meadow Barrow: This past season, you were playing in a different position from what you’re familiar with. What was that like for you? What was it like switching from the quarterback position to a linebacker?

Jamil Muhammad: It was pretty tough initially. But after I got into it and got into the swing of things, I was pretty OK. I’ve actually played that [position] before in eighth and ninth grade, so it wasn’t too bad making the switch over. But I feel like, mentally, it was more grueling than it was physically. So, it was just an adjustment that I had to make, but once I made it, I’m fine now.

In Muhammad’s first season as a linebacker, he played in nine games and made four tackles. The 6-foot, 1-inch, 220-pound freshman is exhibiting his athletic ability to be an outstanding defender. 

MB: You’ve played on the defensive side of the ball in your younger years, but college football is far more different than grade school football. What are some new skills that you had to develop?

JM: It’s interesting that you asked that because once I first switched over, I would just do different drills in practice, and I realized that it came naturally to me. But as far as different skills, I definitely had to learn how to use my hands more and how to just be [more] physical every play. I feel like that’s why I was able to adjust easier than most people because I’m already a physical person as it is, so it wasn’t that tough as far as learning new skills.

MB: Do you think that defensive background played a beneficial role in your transition?

JM: Yes. Because if you ask any of the coaches now or any of the coaches I’ve played for in the past, they’ll tell you I’ve had a defensive mindset, even when I play offense. So, I think that’s what kind of made it a better transition than what it would have been for anyone else had they not played defense in the past.

MB: In what ways do you think that you are a perfect fit for this position?

JM: I’m physical, I have a good head on my shoulders, I’m a student of the game, and anything I want to do, I’m going to get it done, no matter who tells me I can’t do it or no matter who says that they didn’t do it in the past. I’m a “first” type of guy. I want to be the first for everything. 

MB: Have any of your teammates or coaches helped you make this transition easier?

JM: Oh yeah, most definitely. Teammates, coaches and parents, obviously. I’ve had a great support group all around, especially [through] coach Elliott, the head coach. I feel like he’s been there for me. He’s been very understanding through the whole process.

MB: Do you prefer being a defender or a quarterback?

JM: Right now, I would say [a] defender. But if you would have asked me about a year ago, I would say quarterback. So, my [mind] has changed totally away from quarterback, honestly, since my focus has to be centered around defensive rules and things of that nature. Quarterback is something that I used to do, and I still love it, but I’m a defensive player now.