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Trieu: In Cass Tech's Raheem Anderson, Michigan gets great leader, 'great kid'

By Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

There have always been noticeable, standout qualities about Raheem Anderson.

During a Detroit PAL game when he was still on the C-Team, Cass Tech coaches looked at one another and said he was a future All-American.

Detroit Cass Tech center Raheem Anderson committed to Michigan on Sunday.

Those words proved to be prophetic as Anderson has earned many accolades throughout his career, and on Easter announced his commitment to Michigan, where he will play guard or center for the Wolverines.

“It was a blessing for us to have Raheem Anderson,” Cass Tech offensive line coach William Sassie said. “I went to that Cougars little league game and saw the light flash in front of me. The kid was awesome. He had size, good feet, he used his hands and he was a leader.”

He was also an honor student who had close to a 4.0 grade-point average even back then. Anderson’s father had graduated from Cass Tech’s rival Detroit King, but left the high school decision up to his son. When Technicians head coach Thomas Wilcher called Sassie and told him his early Christmas present was that Anderson had enrolled at Cass, Sassie could not wipe the smile off of his face.

All of their staff’s prior predictions about Anderson based on what they had seen in youth ball quickly proved to be true.

“The first day he walks into Cass, all my offensive linemen are on the gym floor and he said ‘I’m going to take somebody’s job,’” Sassie explained. “He took the job and started four straight years at center.”

The starting job was not just handed to him, though. Wilcher kept seeing Sassie put Anderson in the first-team varsity unit in practice and repeatedly told him to get a senior in instead of the young freshman. Sassie continued to tell Wilcher Anderson was outworking the others. That is when Wilcher got the idea of having him try snapping.

“I asked him to play center,” Wilcher said, “and he said yeah, I’ve snapped a little bit, but then he really learned how to do it and just worked on it and worked on t every day. I kept saying I don’t want this guy in there and we were trying to wake the other guys up, but then the first game comes and he’s in there starting. His dad would call me and I told him we weren’t trying to keep him at center, but his dad said he really took hold of it and he was all in. He worked so hard at it and next thing, he was starting.”

Assuming this upcoming season goes off without a hitch, Anderson will be the first four-year starter on the offensive line at Cass Tech. He also has been a captain since his sophomore season.

“He is a great young man,” defensive line coach Nicholas Martin said. “When Coach Wilcher made the announcement, everyone was like, ‘Yep.’ For him to be a captain that year with guys like (DeAndre) Square and (Kalon) Gervin, it shows how great of a leader he is and he is great academically — just a great kid.”

“The players elected him captain,” Wilcher added. “He showed leadership at a young age. He would tell everyone what to do and say ‘Come on y’all.’ He kept that attitude. He was always out-working people and out-shining people. He would show up on time, stay late, do whatever it took and it became his offensive line group.”

Anderson is ranked as the No. 3 center in the country by the 247Sports Composite. He chose Michigan over offers from Georgia, LSU, Michigan State, Missouri, West Virginia and many more. He followed the Wolverines growing up and wanted to play at Michigan for a long time. Combine that with the work the staff did in recruiting him and Ed Warinner’s development of players on the offensive line, and it all made for a good fit in addition to the childhood affinity.

The Cass Tech staff universally says they could not ask for more from a player and student than they have gotten from Anderson, so while they are excited for his future and are aware of what Michigan is getting, they also know the next center at Cass will have gigantic shoes to fill.

“He is unreplaceable,” Sassie said. “I am going to cry like a newborn baby when he leaves. He is intelligent, smart, coachable, everything a coach would want.”

Michigan’s 2021 class now has eight members.

UM offers high-upside DE

Michigan is one of the newest offers for Kansas City (Mo.) Lincoln Prep defensive end Tobechi Okoli. Okoli had not played football until his junior year, but he quickly became a heavily recruited prospect, thanks largely to his 6-foot-5, 255-pound frame and natural athleticism.

Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas, Arizona State and others have offered as well.

Okoli is also an excellent student and plans to go into engineering.

UM offers Wisconsin sophomore

Billy Schrauth, a sophomore at Fond Du Lac (Wis.) Saint Mary’s Springs, was offered by Michigan over the weekend.

Schrauth (6-5, 275 pounds) is a four-star prospect per 247Sports. Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State and more have offered the two-way standout.

The Wolverines had him to campus for an unofficial game visit in the fall.

More information

Raheem Anderson profile

Tobechi Okoli profile

Billy Schrauth profile

Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.