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Michael Jerome Oher (born Michael Jerome Williams, Jr.; May 28, 1986) is an Americanmarker professional football player for the Baltimore Ravens. He played college football at the University of Mississippimarker for the Ole Miss Rebels. His life prior to college is the subject of Michael Lewis's 2006 book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game and the movie The Blind Side.

High school career

Michael attended school only sporadically before he started his years of high school. After playing football his freshman year at a public school in Memphis, Oher transferred to Briarcrest Christian School, where he was named Division 11 (2A) Lineman of the Year in 2003 and First Team Tennessee All-State. [358742] rated Oher a five-star recruit and the #5 offensive lineman prospect in the country. [358743]

College career

After receiving scholarship offers from the University of Tennesseemarker, Louisiana State Universitymarker, the University of Alabamamarker, and the University of South Carolinamarker, among others, Oher ultimately decided to attend the University of Mississippimarker, the alma mater of Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy, with whom he was living at the time. His decision was not without controversy. The National Collegiate Athletic Association suspected that the Tuohys had taken Oher in and added him to their will in order to secure his services as a player for their school, but an investigation did not affect his eligibility. Oher's high school coach Hugh Freeze also created the appearance of possible impropriety by taking a job as UM's assistant athletic director for external affairs twenty days after Oher signed a letter of intent with the school. Freeze claimed that the offer was not an example of quid pro quo for encouraging Oher to attend Mississippi, but rather the result of a pre-existing relationship with Mississippi offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. The NCAA later ruled that Freeze had committed secondary violations by contacting Memphis-area prospects on behalf of the school before he had officially become an employee.

Oher started in 10 games as a guard during his first season with Mississippi, becoming a first-team freshman All American. He shifted to the position of left tackle for the 2006 season, and was named to a variety of preseason All-Conference and All-American teams. He was named a second-team SEC offensive lineman after his sophomore season and a first-team SEC offensive lineman after his junior season.

On January 14, 2008, Oher declared that he would be entering the 2008 NFL Draft. However, two days later, he announced his withdrawal from the draft to return to Ole Miss for his senior season. After the 2008-2009 college football season, Oher was selected to the AP All-American first team, made the honor roll for the second time (the first time being his sophomore year), and graduated with a degree in criminal justice in the spring of 2009.

College awards and honors

  • 2005 First Team Freshman All-America
  • 2005 First Team SEC All-Freshman
  • 2007 First Team All-SEC
  • 2008 First Team All-America
  • 2008 First Team All-SEC
  • 2008 Shug Jordan Award as the Southeast Offensive Lineman of the Year
  • 2008 Colonel Earl “Red” Blaik Leadership-Scholarship Award
  • 2008 Outland Trophy finalist
  • 2008 Conerly Trophy finalist
  • 2008 Lombardi Award semifinalist

Professional career

2009 NFL Draft

The Baltimore Ravens drafted Oher in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Oher was the 23rd pick in the first round, a pick Baltimore received from the New England Patriots in exchange for the Ravens' 1st and 5th round picks. The Tuohy family was there to witness his draft day selection.

Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20 ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6-4 310 lb 5.30 * 4.60 * 7.59 * 30½ in * 8′7″ * 21 * 19

Baltimore Ravens

On April 26, 2009, he was assigned the #74 jersey, which was his jersey number at Ole Miss. On July 30, 2009 he signed a 5-year, $13.8 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens. He started the 2009 season at right tackle, but was moved to left tackle after an injury to line-mate Jared Gaither. In week eight, he returned to right tackle. He currently has a listed height of 6'4" and a listed weight of 310 pounds. His 40 yard dash time is 5.32 seconds. Oher has thus far started every game for the Ravens this season.

Personal life

Oher was born to Denise Oher, who was addicted to crack cocaine. As a result, he received little constructive attention during his formative years. He repeated both first grade and second grade, and attended eleven different schools during his first nine years as a student. He also alternated between time spent in various foster homes and periods with no fixed address until he was sixteen years old. Oher's estranged father was murdered while Oher was a senior in high school.

Oher applied for admission to a private school, Briarcrest Christian School, at the instigation of acquaintance Tony Henderson, with whom he was staying temporarily. Henderson was sending his son to the school in order to fulfill the dying wish of the boy's grandmother, and thought Oher might as well come along. The school's football coach submitted Oher's school application to the headmaster, who agreed if Oher could complete a home study program first. Despite not finishing the program, he was admitted when the headmaster realized he had removed him from the public education system.

Oher was living with several families and a football teammate at Briarcrest for a year and a half or so until a couple with a daughter and a son at the school, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, allowed Oher to move in with them and began taking care of his needs after becoming familiar with his difficult personal circumstances. They also connected him with a tutor, who worked with him for twenty hours a week. He eventually brought his 0.6 grade point average up to 2.52. Later, the Tuohy family adopted him.

The Blind Side

Oher is the subject of Michael Lewis's 2006 book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. A portion of the book was excerpted before publication in the New York Times Magazine as "The Ballad of Big Mike". The book was adapted for film and was directed by John Lee Hancock. It was released on November 20, 2009. The movie stars Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher, alongside Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. Oher stated he was unhappy with the portrayal of young Michael Oher in the film, as one that didn't have much football acumen; which he states wasn't true. He stated that he always had a high football IQ, even before he played organized football.


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