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Raheem Anderson’s journey to Michigan, Outlook for 2021

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The true freshman wants to make his mark early.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Illinois Michael Allio-USA TODAY Sports

As we continue our scholarship breakdown of every player on the Michigan roster, we continue to analyze the future of the offensive line. A name that will surely become a well-known one among Michigan fans is Raheem Anderson. The former four-star offensive lineman has plenty of promise in the coming years at Ann Arbor. Let’s take a look at how he got here and where he fits into the mold going forward.

The story so far

Cass Tech has produced a lot of quality talent to the college ranks over the years. Michael Onwenu, Jourdan Lewis, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Mike Weber and several others have become good players at the collegiate level and beyond. Anderson now looks to add his name to the prestigious list coming is as the No. 208 player and No. 15 interior offensive linemen in the 2021 class.

He was highly esteemed coming out of high school, as he was a captain starting his sophomore season. From Day 1 at Cass Tech, Anderson was a starter on the offensive line. Anderson became head coach Thomas Wilcher’s first player to start all four years on the offensive line in 30 years of coaching. In a story by The Detroit News, Wilcher said Anderson was “like a coach on the field for us.”

That type of praise doesn’t come lightly, but the Wolverines nearly lost Anderson in the recruiting process. Greg Crippen committed to Ann Arbor prior to Anderson making a decision. Hardly does a program take two centers in the same class, but when Anderson also pledged to Michigan, the coaching staff decided to keep both on the roster. In Dec. 2020, Harbaugh regarded Anderson as “another Mike Onwenu” as the coaching staff raved about the prospect.

Anderson was also a spectacular student at Cass Tech with a 4.1 GPA and performed in track and field. New offensive line coach Sherrone Moore added, “He’s been proving it for a long time, like coach Harbaugh said, that he’s smart, intelligent and tough — all the things you want in a center and a player. He’s a leader on and off the field.”

Outlook for 2021

Anderson attended spring practices for the Wolverines and his play and wittiness seems to have impressed his coach. Moore expressed his admiration for the early-enrollees on the In The Trenches Podcast saying that his group of freshmen “probably know as much for young guys as I’ve ever been around.”

An interesting note in all of this is Moore was the primary recruiter while trying to lure Anderson to Michigan according to 247Sports. Ed Warinner was the assistant in that process. Meanwhile, Crippen was recruited by Don Brown and Warriner who are now both gone from the program. Moore has now moved from tight ends coach to leading the offensive line unit. We will see if that plays a role in Anderson’s rank on the line moving forward.

The Michigan Insider suggests, even, that Moore was one of the sole reasons Anderson stuck with the Wolverines:

“Think about Raheem – Raheem Anderson. I mean, there was a while, there, where there were a lot of people kind of asking, ‘Is Raheem still on the board? Is he still connecting with Michigan?’. It was Sherrone that kind of kept Raheem warm. And then, when it came time for Michigan to push, and the rest of the staff, and you had Ed Warinner – who does a great job as well – come in and really close that deal. But, it was Sherrone that kept Raheem alive.” - Sam Webb of The Michigan Insider

Anderson probably won’t see much playing time in 2021 and will likely redshirt in his first season at Michigan. With Andrew Vastardis back, Zak Zinter’s ability to play center, you can throw Reece Attebury’s name in there, and Greg Crippen impressing in the spring, Anderson is likely pretty low in the depth chart as we sit. But watch for his name towards the end of this season and beyond. Zinter could find a permanent home at guard and then there’s an open competition at center moving forward.