From NCAA College Football Information & Resource
Michael Oher (born Michael Jerome Oher on May 28, 1986) is an offensive lineman for the University of Mississippi Rebels in the NCAA college football tournament. Described as a "freak of nature," Oher underwent massive transformation that resulted in one of today's most sought after left tackle in the nation. With his hulking 6-foot-6, 300+ frame, Oher has become the greatest not-so-secret weapon by his high school football team and eventually by Ole Miss in college and is no doubt going to follow the long list of highly paid left tackles in the pros, one of which is Orlando Pace who is often compared to him.
Michael, or "Big Mike" as he is sometimes called, is one of Denise Oher's thirteen children and is an adopted child of Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. After his father was killed and his mother got addicted to crack cocaine, Mike would spend some time with a guy named "Big Tony" Henderson and his son Steven Payne. Although he did have a shelter with the Henderson's, he did not have much constructive attention during his formative years. Prior to Briarcrest, Mike repeated both first and second grades and was enrolled in 11 different institutions in his first nine years of school, skipping a year when he was 10 when he did not go to school at all. According to his file, Mike passed the 9th grade at Westwood high school eventhough he missed 50 days of school.
Because of the dying wish of his mother, Tony sent an application for Steven to attend Briarcrest Christian School in 2002 and he decided to do the same for Mike. Although Steven was accepted, the school principal turned down Mike because of his academic background but gave him a concession that if he enrolled in a home-study program and performed at a high level for a semester, he would be accepted. Unfortunately, the arrangement did not turn out well as Big Mike was still non-responsive to Gateway Christian School's home-study program. However, upon hearing Mike's personal background coupled with the interest shown by the school's football coach on him, the school official eventually admitted him.
It was during his stay at Briarcrest that he met a white couple, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. Sean was a former star point guard at Ole Miss who was drafted by the NBA's New Jersey Nets but eventually ended up calling games for the Memphis Grizzlies on the radio while making a living as a businessman---owning a chain of 60 Taco Bells, KFC’s and Long John Silver restaurants. Leigh Anne, a daughter of a United States marshal, had her own interior-decorating firm. After spending 2003 living with several Briarcrest families and with then teammate Quinterio Franklin, he finally moved in with the Tuohy's and became the couple's "third child" along with daughter Collins and son Sean, Jr.
Michael is featured on the book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game penned by Michael Lewis. Part of the book was excerpted before publication in the New York Times Magazine as "The Ballad of Big Mike." The book will soon have a big-screen adaptation under the direction of John Lee Hancock.
After the school officials held him out of athletic competition in his first year at Briarcrest, Oher (pronounced 'Oar') was finally allowed to play sports by the end of his sophomore year. He started playing with the basketball team (lettered twice) then with the track-and-field team (lettered twice) where he competed in discus throw and shotput). While playing hoops, Oher averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds to help the Saints' basketball team post a 27-6 record and bag the 2004 district championship, earning for himself All-State honors and Sun Coast All-Tourney team. On the track, he was state runner-up in discus.
He only joined coach Hugh Freeze's football team when he was a junior. Although he was said to have played football his freshman year at Westwood, it didn't show on his performance on the field. With his speed, Oher was first used as a defensive tackle in the first six games of the 2003 season. He was later on moved to play on the offensive line first as a right tackle then as a left tackle. By mid-spring during his junior season, he was named a preseason First-Team High School All-American. His senior year, he was credited with 130 "pancake" blocks, prevented any sack, and graded out at 90 percent to help Briarcrest win 10 of 13 games and claim the 2004 state championship. By the end of his high school career, Oher became one of the most decorated players in the nation with a pair of all-state selections, along with All-American honors from SuperPrep, Scout.com (first team), USA Today and EA Sports, First Team All-South and All-Southern picks from Fox Sports and Orlando Sentinel, respectively, and was named as "Mr. Football" and the Offensive Lineman of the Year in Tennessee.
Oher, who finished his Briarcrest career without allowing any sack, recording 200 "pancakes" and tallying an 85 percent grade, made his way to the top of almost every scouting list as one of the best high school prospects in the nation. Rivals.com, who included him in its All-American Bowl All-Time Team, ranked him as the No. 7 offensive lineman in the nation, No. 2 player in Tennessee and listed him as the No. 48 prospect in the nation regardless of position. SuperPrep on the other hand, which selected him on its Dixie Team, ranked him the No.24 offensive linemen and the No. 6 on its Tennessee Top 20. Oher was also the No. 8 overall player in the South and the No. 37 overall player in the country according to Scout.com; was the No. 1 player in the State of Tennessee according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel; the No.22 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Top 25 recruits in the nation list; the No.1 player on The Commercial Appeal's Shelby-Metro's Most Wanted list; and was the 2nd ranked player in the South according to Mobile Register, who also listed him on its Super Southeast 120 squad.
Other accolades include selections to the AJC's Super Southern 100, the Student Sports Hot 100, and the PrepStar preseason Top 100 Dream Team. Tom Lemming/ESPN's no.1 offensive tackle in the nation was also selected to play in a couple of all-star games, one being the prestigious U.S. Army All-America Bowl in San Antonio, Texas while the other being the All-Star Game at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky. on June of 2005 where he was chosen to be part of the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association All-Star team who played the Kentucky Wildcats.
When he was only a junior in high school, Oher have already impressed several coaches/scouts from major college universities, including Michigan, Clemson, Southern Miss, Tennessee, and Florida State who attended one of his high school's practices. But before he could go to any one of these universities, Oher had to work doubly hard to catch up on his grades. With the help of the Tuohy's, Oher was able to make up some ground and finished the semester with a 2.05 grade-point average. It was still however short of the 2.65 he needed to advance in college. With the help of BYU's Internet courses, Oher was able to pass and earn his diploma. Among the schools that offered him scholarships include UT, LSU, Alabama, and N.C. State, among others. He eventually decided to pick the Tuohy's alma mater Ole Miss but his decision drew quite a controversy after his adapted parents were suspected of taking in Oher to eventually secure his services for their school. His football coach Hugh Freeze was also accused of possible impropriety after his hiring as Ole Miss' assistant athletic director was seen as a quid pro quo for encouraging Oher to study college at UM. But the investigation did not affect Oher's eligibility inspite of the result which had coach Freeze penalized for secondary violations after he was found out to be contacting Memphis-area prospects on behalf of the school before he had officially become an employee.
Oher made his collegiate debut against Memphis on September 5 but did not start his first game until the following week against Vanderbilt when he took over the place of Thomas Eckers. In that game, he helped the Rebels record a season-high 400 yards of total offense only to lose, 23-31. In week three against Wyoming, Oher assisted in running back Mico McSwain's first 100-yard game with 114 rush yards and a touchdown in the 10-point loss to the Cowboys. The Rebels snapped their losing streak against The Citadel with Oher helping the offense tally 366 yards of offense as McSwain recorded his second 100-yard rushing game. Against Alabama, Oher and the rest of the O-line prevented any sack but the Tide still escaped with a three-point win. As a consolation, Oher was given the Rebel Quarterback Club Player of the Week Trench Award. The following game against UK, Oher once again prevented any sack while helping the offense gain 361 yards of total offense en route to a 13-7 victory. The Rebels lost their last four games of the season as the line allowed 13 sacks, including a season low five against Arkansas while helping the offense produce only a single 300-yard game in that four-game stretch.
He ended the season with a couple of Freshman All-America and Freshman All-SEC honors after helping McSwain establish an Ole Miss freshman rushing record of 512 yards including three 100-yard outings.
During his sophomore year, Oher was shifted back to the left tackle position and was recognized by Phipps Football Magazine, The Sporting News and Lindy’s as an All-SEC selection during the preseason. After helping the team rack up a season-high 240 yards rushing against Memphis, Oher was the recipient of the Rebel QB Club Trench Player of the Week for his performance the following week against Missouri. He also assisted BenJarvus Green-Ellis' career game against Georgia with a career-high 135 rushing yards versus the Yellow Jackets. Oher also received the Rebel QB Club Trench Player of the Week for his performance against Alabama then helped the Rebel offense gain a season-high 401 yards of total offense against Northwestern. He ended the year as a second team All-SEC honoree by the conference coaches after starting all 12 assignments and aiding Green-Ellis rush his way into the UM record books as the program's third 1,000-yard rusher with a record four 100-yard rushing games.
Like the previous season, Oher received plenty of accolades during the preseason in anticipation of another solid year. He was named to the watch list of the Outland Trophy for the nation's best interior lineman, in addition to many other preseason All-SEC and All-America citations. In the showdown against Mizzou, he helped the Offense record 534 yards of total offense, 229 via rushes, which was the most yards gained by the team since 2004. He also accepted the Rebel Quarterback Club Trench Award of the Week in games against Florida, Arkansas, and LSU, the latter after helping the offense produce 466 total yards and 201 rushing against the formidable Tiger defense. Oher also provided excellent protection for his QB in games against Georgia and Northwestern State after not allowing any sack on both outings. Oher highlighted his junior year with Mid-Seaon All-America picks from The Sporting News and Phil Steele before ending the year with a Consensus First Team All-SEC selection after providing Green-Ellis a clear path for on his way to his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season (1,137 rushing yards, 2nd in Ole Miss' single-season chart).
In mid-January, Oher announced his decision to forgo his senior year in favor of joining the 2008 NFL Draft. Two days later on January 16, he decided to reverse his decision and return to Ole Miss to finish his collegiate career. Oher was projected to be a possible first- or second-round pick. He continually kept himself in shape during the offseason with workout sessions at the D1 Sports Training in Memphis and Nashville. He and junior defensive end teammate Greg Hardy were also selected unanimously to the coaches' All-SEC football first team.
|A feature on Michael Oher.|
- Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook Preseason All-SEC
- Outland Trophy Watch List
- Phil Steele Preseason All-America Second Team
- Phil Steele Preseason All-SEC First Team
- Playboy Preseason All-America Football Team
- SEC Coaches Preseason All-SEC First Team
- All-SEC First Team (Coaches & AP)
- Athlon Sports preseason All-SEC second team
- Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook preseason first team All-America
- Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook preseason first team All-SEC
- CollegeFootballNews.com All-America Third Team
- CollegeFootballNews.com All-SEC Team
- CollegeFootballNews.com Preseason All-SEC Team
- CollegeFootballNews.com's #2 Offensive Lineman in the SEC
- CollegeFootballNews.com's #7 Player in the SEC
- CollegeFootballNews.com's #14 Preseason Player in the SEC
- Lindy’s Best Run Blocker in the SEC
- Lindy’s No. 3 offensive tackle in the nation
- Lindy’s preseason first team All-America
- Lindy’s preseason first team All-SEC
- Nationalchamps.net Third Team All-America
- Outland Trophy preseason Watch List
- Phil Steele First Team All-SEC
- Phil Steele Fourth Team All-America
- Phil Steele Midseason First Team All-SEC
- Phil Steele Midseason Fourth Team All-America
- Rebel Quarterback Club Player of the Week Trench Award (vs. Florida, vs. Arkansas, vs. LSU)
- Rivals.com All-SEC First Team
- The Birmingham News preseason All-SEC first team
- The Sporting News Midseason First Team All-America
- The Sporting News preseason All-SEC first team
- Lindy's Preseason Second Team All-SEC
- Phipps Football Magazines Preseason First Team All-SEC
- Rebel Quarterback Club Player of the Week Trench Award (vs. Missouri, vs. Alabama)
- SEC Coaches second team All-SEC
- The Sporting News Preseason Second Team All-SEC
- CollegeFootballNews.com Third Team Freshman All-America
- Rebel Quarterback Club Player of the Week Trench Award (vs. Alabama)
- Rivals.com First Team Freshman All-America
- SEC Coaches First Team Freshman All-SEC
- The Sporting News First Team Freshman All-America
- The Sporting News First Team Freshman All-SEC