Detroit (MI) Cass Tech center Raheem Anderson II committed to Michigan on Easter Sunday. He picked the Wolverines over Georgia, LSU, Michigan State, and Nebraska, among others.
Anderson is listed at 6’3″ and 298 lbs. He claims a 5.28 forty, a 5.38 shuttle, and a 19.7″ vertical.
ESPN: 4-star, 82 grade, #3 C, #226 overall
Rivals: 4-star, 5.8 grade, #2 C, #139 overall
247 Sports: 3-star, 89 grade, #9 C
Hit the jump for more.
Michigan offered Anderson over two years ago, in February of 2018. Despite the early offer, word from insiders seemed to waffle back and forth between “Anderson is a priority” and “Anderson is on the back burner.” Center is a bit of an odd position like that, because there’s only one on the field, kind of like punter or kicker or quarterback; sometimes they can slide over to guard, but true centers can be pretty limited. Regardless, Anderson’s crystal ball was pretty consistently all pro-Michigan. After Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy center Greg Crippen picked Michigan back in March, it was unclear whether they would still pursue Anderson hard, but he was still prioritized and ended up pulling the trigger for the Maize and Blue.
Anderson has a prototypical center body. Listed at 6’3″, he’s probably about 6’2″ and has that squat, powerful build you think of when picturing a center. He does a great job of staying low and maintaining leverage on interior players to win battles in the trenches. He seems to especially enjoy down blocks, which is really where he seems to excel. He likes to finish blocks and does a good job of driving his feet after contact. I like him as a run blocker.
As a pass blocker, I believe there is some work to do. Anderson needs to do a better job of moving his feet laterally. He tends to try to outmuscle people with his upper body. And while I mentioned that he stays low initially, he does tend to get up high when releasing to the second level and/or when drive blocking. His feet get too narrow, and that technique will lead to either missed blocks or holding calls in the future. I would also like to see him be more consistent with his initial hand punch; his off hand can sometimes lag, which could allow defenders to get into his body.
Overall, I like Anderson as a prospect. He looks like a true center to me; though some have said Anderson can play guard, I see Crippen as the one more likely to play guard. We might have a few more years before we see an opening at center, since there are a couple redshirt freshmen (Zach Carpenter, Nolan Rumler) who could man the center position for the next four seasons, along with 2020 signee Reece Atteberry. However, those guys could also play guard and unforeseen things often happen, so a slot could open sooner than 2024.
Michigan now has three offensive line commits in the 2021 class, with Anderson joining Crippen and tackle Giovanni El-Hadi. Numbers floating around have them taking anywhere from 4-6 linemen in the class.
Anderson would be the first Cass Tech signee since wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones in the 2017 class. Cass Tech has been a pipeline to Michigan over the last 15 years or so, but with Peoples-Jones heading to the NFL a year early, no more Technicians are left on the roster.
TTB Rating: I’m not giving TTB Ratings until I wrap up the 2020 class.
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