Athlete Profile: Michael Oher

Michael Oher is a big man. At 6’5” and 309 pounds that would seem rather obvious, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. Oher’s got quite a back story, a fact that hasn’t been lost on we in the profession of sports writing. A novel concerning his life leading up to his college career has not only been already released, but is in the works for becoming a feature film. While the material remains accurate, it seems reports of Oher’s intelligence (according to Oher) were exaggerated. But no worries, like I said, he’s a big guy.

And what is this life that resulted in a bestseller? OK, I’m not going into too much detail here, it’s been repeated in other places ad nauseam and I don’t want to throw up on my keyboard. Oher grew up more or less homeless, the son of a crack addict and a father who was never there. Roaming through schools, forgotten on holidays and birthdays, it wasn’t until he was taken in by the Tuohy family at 16 that things truly started to turn around for him. Living with the affluent Memphis family helped grant him the stability and backing needed to get him into a position to rise to national attention.

As if all that wasn’t enough to leave a man a bit bitter, he learned that his last name was, in fact, not his last name at all. While trying to obtain a drivers license, Oher learned that government records retained the name of Michael Williams, his biological father’s surname. A bit of a surprise for anybody I must say. Oher took it in stride, getting a license as Michael Williams for a time before eventually changing his legal name to Oher (Oher is from his mother’s side btw).

In high school, Oher maintained a solid 0.3 GPA, something I imagine didn’t sit very well with him. Luckily, his performance on the field kept him afloat. His high school stats earned him places on numerous All-American first teams as a an offensive tackle, as well as Rivals.com’s All-American Bowl All-Time Team. Why might you say?

He didn’t allow a sack for the full two years he played high school football. Oh, and you ever hear of a “pancake?” I think you can guess easily enough. Well, Oher racked up 200.

Oher was naturally offered positions at numerous colleges across the country, eventually deciding on Ole Miss. His freshman year he started in 10 games as right guard and was named to the All-American freshman first team by Rivals.com and The Sporting News. He earned the first of his four letters too.

2006 saw Oher improve his game, starting every game (this time at left tackle) and continuing in that position for the rest of his time at the school. His junior year he was a fourth team All-American and was on the SEC first team.

Heading into his senior year Oher was posited on about every preseason All-American first team around. He didn’t disappoint. By the end of his time at Ole Miss, Oher had won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (for the SEC’s best blocker), was the Southeast offensive lineman of the year, was team captain, and helped the rebels hold opposing defenses to a paltry 1.54 sacks per game. He was also a key reason why Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis had 1,000+ rushing yards for back to back seasons.

For such a huge presence on the line, Oher’s real skill comes from his ability to move that girth around. He also has a real head for the game, keeping defenses guessing by making a great quick move forward to fake the rush on passing plays before dropping back. Overall, Oher’s ready for the NFL, ready for the punishment he’s likely to receive; surely it can’t be worse than anything he’s already endured.

Latest on Oher

Considering the performance of offensive tackles in last year’s draft, 4 in the first round, Oher should definitely be considered a contender for the top ten. However, with the teams up there looking to acquire new defensive and offensive (read quarterbacks and wide receivers) talent, there simply might not be a place for him. He’ll be going in the first round, but could be as low as say, 21 to the Eagles. There still remains a real possibility though that he could still go to St. Louis or Cincinnati (2 and 6 respectively).

Career
Ole Miss Official Michael Oher Page
You want a number associated with Oher? Go here.

News and Commentary
Michael Oher Scouting Report
Quick summation of strengths and weaknesses.
From homeless to the NFL: Oher’s journey to draft unique
Great article about Oher’s past and present.
Big Things Predicted for Oher from the Start
Commentary on Oher’s potential.

Oher says
On his past hardships
“I don’t dwell on anything. I’m not going to feel sorry for myself because I didn’t have a place to stay a lot of time. It is what it is. We’ve got to go through some things in life. Take it and run with it.”
As posted on USA Today

Sources and Links
OleMissSports.com
USAToday.com
Scout.com
SportsIllustrated.com

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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