Georgia commit Yazeed Haynes catching attention on high school gridiron


Frankie Gallagher

Zeed poses for a picture on his new home

North Penn has had many electrifying players walk out of its locker rooms throughout the years. On the football team, many offensive and defensive players have terrorized opposing teams in Crawford Stadium. This being said, very few compare to the attention being turned toward the talent of Yazeed “Zeed” Haynes.

Although this is his first (and last) year at North Penn, the four-star wide receiver is giving the Knights everything he has on both sides of the ball. He is ranked number 32 in his position and number 209 overall for the class of 2023 nationwide. He switches positions from wide receiver on offense to cornerback on defense. Haynes is a first-year transfer student after leaving Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School.

“It was kind of hard leaving my old school and coming here because I was really close with the coach and he was upset that I was leaving. But when I told him my situation and why I was leaving, he understood,” Haynes explained.

Although Haynes was upset that he had to leave his former teammates, he was optimistic about the opportunity presented to him by the North Penn Football program.

“Coming here, I didn’t really know anybody so it felt like I was just in a school by myself, but once I got to talk to people it was a good process,” Haynes said.

Switching high schools is always hard for any student, but when you’re involved in athletics as much as Haynes is, it can be three times as hard. Not only must these players learn new playbooks, but meeting new coaches, learning the different processes, and connecting with their brothers on the field can be extremely overwhelming. For players like Haynes, they complete this transition with ease.

“Here at North Penn, we’re kind of a little run heavy. At my old school, we were more of a passing offense. But we have a better o-line than I did last year so that gives more opportunities for some run plays. The playbook is a bit bigger here so it can be hard to learn sometimes,” Haynes explained.

As mentioned before, learning the playbook isn’t the only thing a new player must tackle in a first year starting position. Forming the bond between teammates is crucial to how the players perform under the Friday night lights. Fortunately for Haynes, the players at North Penn were more than welcoming upon his arrival.

“The connection wasn’t hard to establish at all. As soon as I came up here I was working out with [Ryan] Zeltt at an indoor facility and eventually outside. We worked out at least 2 times a week just running routes and stuff. So I would say the connection kind of just developed naturally,” Haynes noted.

Now ranked a four-star receiver, Haynes is regarded as a leader on and off the field during offense and defense. If the Knights have a terrible night, the pressure of an underwhelming performance can sometimes fall down to one player. Thankfully, North Penn has other outlets of talent on both sides of the ball.

“It’s a really great feeling knowing that we can give the ball to anyone and they can make plays. Knowing that we have that talent takes the pressure off of one person. It would be much more difficult if we just had one go-to-person,” Haynes said.

Unfortunately, in a game against Neshaminy Haynes left with an injury in his abdominals. He was pulled out a few plays after the injury had occurred when a coach saw him limping off the field.

“I kept trying to play through it for a while but after one catch, I couldn’t do it anymore. The coach saw me limping and he pulled me aside and said it’s not worth sitting for the rest of the season,” Haynes said.

Consequently, he did not practice most of that week. However, he was back on the field Thursday afternoon and back for North Penn’s Friday night homecoming game.

Although Haynes is doing everything he can to secure his legacy at North Penn, he is more than ready for what the future holds for him. The wide receiver is committed to the University of Georgia where he will play for the Bulldogs on a full scholarship. He still remembers the story as if it all happened yesterday.

“I knew the defensive back coach a while back when I had no offers. That personal connection came to be when he was at Rutgers. We would just talk about life and then he went to Georgia and he saw that I was getting better and working on my craft. So one day he called and he said he wants me to workout there. At first, I was a little doubtful because I had never thought about going to Georgia. So after really thinking about it, I went there and they saw my talent and they kinda gave me the talk of getting a scholarship,” Haynes explained.

Before being committed to Georgia, Haynes had verbally committed to Penn State. Choosing between schools can be an extremely hard decision for an athlete.

“After learning about Georgia, I was kinda fighting a battle within myself between them and Penn State. After talking to them for a while and really doing my research, I felt like Georgia was the best place for me,” Haynes said.

The Knights (2-3) will regroup after their loss against Central Bucks West and now head into the next week preparing for their matchup with Central Bucks South (3-2). Haynes is hopeful that his team can work out the kinks after their homecoming game loss and continues to further nurse his injury to ensure that it will not be a problem for the rest of the season.