POWERS, Mich. (WJMN) – You could argue that Wyatt Raab is one of the biggest playmakers on a team filled with players who know how to put the ball in the endzone. This season he single-handedly racked up 37 tackles for a loss of yards and 4 sacks on defense while also rushing for over 497 yards with 19 touchdowns on the offensive side of the ball and the Jets season isn’t even over yet. But behind all of those eye-boggling numbers, it’s what drives Raab on the field that makes his story so special.
When Wyatt Raab joined the North Central program prior to the 2020 season, it didn’t take long for head coach Leo Gorzinski to realize they had something special.
“I knew I had something special right of the ‘get-go.’ Like any competitor, he wanted to prove that he belongs here and he’s a strong kid,” Leo Gorzinski, North Central Head Coach said. “He showed right away such glimpses of speed, he could catch right off the bat. He would come in and we would put pads on him and he definitely wasn’t afraid of the contact. He brought the play of the other guys up as well. He’s also humble enough to see some of the pecking order and he became good friends with the team and the guys. He’s settled in and he’s found a spot.”
“Football has always been an outlet for me and when I was little, it was always just an escape,” said Wyatt Raab, a senior starter for the Jets. “I want to prove that I can be the best me I can be. So, I just want to be as dominant as possible. I don’t want people to tackle me obviously, so I just like don’t let it happen. I just convince myself that it can’t happen sometimes and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Gorzinski says Raab was an instant fit with the Jets.
“When Wyatt came to this town and moved in here with a strong wrestling background, some football background, then he got in here and it was an instant fit,” Gorzinski said. “He’s a tough strong kid. He goes hard every down. Everything you can ask for. Now translate that for how he’s played for us, gosh, from snap to whistle, you can’t ask for a more disruptive force on the football field. I don’t care who you are, the kid is amazing. He’s got such a crazy motor and he goes. He’s a joy for us to watch. and I’m sure glad he’s on our team instead of the others.”
But For Raab, his new home took a little getting used to.
“So, I played safety and linebacker and then I moved here and I got moved to D-line,” Raab said. “So, there was a little bit of adjusting. Obviously, my role changed from a linebacker to D-Lineman. Since middle school, I’ve been a ball carrier. So, that aspect didn’t really change. Just adjusting to five-man eligibility for wide receiver and in 8-man it is a lot different than 11-man. So, just little things like that change, but for the most part we’re still playing football and you just got to do your thing.”
Coming to a new school while trying to fit into a football program that has had tremendous success was a challenge for Raab, but one he met head-on.
“I’ve been friends with Drew Allgeyer for a while,” Raab said. “I met him through camping when we were younger, so I had him. Met the Tietz boys, they were really welcoming. Alex Naser, Gavin Casperson, we had a bunch of guys.”
“You imagine the players, families, and the people that we have,” Gorzinski said. “Again, being a small-town community, there were people that before him, they were good. That’s one of the luxuries we have. We have a pile of really, really good kids. We have a few kids that are a step above that. Wyatt has proven that right off the get-go. The fact that he’s starting over some of these kids that have grown up here and have been playing with us since their youth, that’s a testament right there in itself of his ability to play this game.”
After adjusting to the change, Raab decided to make another switch.
“Last year, I was number 28 for my first year here,” Raab said. “I’ve been #28 for all four years of high school until this year but I changed my number to 17. Growing up I had a really big role model, Colton Drye. His dad was my dad’s buddy. They worked together and traveled together, so growing up he was like a big brother to me. In 2019, he passed away in a car accident on the way home from being deployed. So, this is just my way of paying homage to him and showing my respect to his family and them. He won state his senior year wearing number 17, so I just want to do that again, too.”
When Raab takes the field, he says his biggest role model is always lining up right beside him.
“I have a bracelet that his birthday and everything, his name, his core, and everything,” Raab said. “He’s just always on my mind, he was a really big influence on me from a really young age and the way he just treated me and everybody around him was just ideal on how we all want to be treated and how we should treat others. So, I just want to respect him and everything he has done for me, the way he treated me and how it shaped me into the person I am today.”