*Please note: This is a fan site and only a fan site ! It is not endorsed by Michael Oher nor affiliated with Michael Oher in any way. As I said, this is strictly a fan site. Our family has admired Michael Oher ever since we heard his story and look forward to sharing with you any information that, like the fans we are, you the reader would find interesting and supportive of Michael Oher and his NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens. Let’s begin the journey….
Michael Jerome Oher was born Michael Jerome Williams, Jr. on May 28, 1986. By the way, Michael Oher’s last name sounds like ‘oar’.
There is not much known of Michael’s early childhood because he prefers not to talk about it. It is known that he, and 12 other siblings, were raised by his mother who struggled with drug addiction. His father was murdered when he was young so Michael has little memory of him.
His life story really begins with Michael’s earliest recollections. Since there are very few people to remember what his life was like when he was a child, Michael’s memory is the only record. He didn’t even know his real name. He remembers sleeping on the porch and asking neighbors for food to eat when he was very young.
Here is a short video of Michael Oher’s beginnings….
This is the transcript of the above video:
A Diamond in the Rough
Narrator: Michael Oher has always survived on instinct…using a front porch as a mattress and begging neighbors for take-out; even breaking out of foster homes. Doing whatever it took for the following sunrise.
Michael Oher: I guess it is an instinct that everybody knows from the hood got or ghetto….whatever you want to call it. It you grew up in it, you gonna know how to survive it. I guess that is what I did.
Collins Tuohy (adoptive sister): He had a very rough hard upbringing with no parental supervision. He had no one. He didn’t even have the garbage man to help him out…he had nothing.
Narrator: Growing up in North Memphis, Oher was one of 13 kids. With his father murdered and his mother facing a drug addiction, he was forced to fend for himself at the age of 7.
Michael Oher: I didn’t have anybody to tell me to go to school everyday because it was going to count…I got to school around lunch time everyday and showing up for practice and I didn’t stay on top of things they passed me through because I was an athlete.
Narrator: In hopes he could contribute to the basketball team, a friend’s father brought him to Briarcrest Christian High School. The undesired trip would prove to be the turning point in Oher’s life.
Steve Simpson, Briarcrest Christian HS Principal: You had to really spend some time to trace dates and times to where he had been in school but I could tell initially that he had been academically deficient.
Sean Tuohy (Michael’s adoptive Father): He had a 0.4 GPA when he came to Briarcrest. So the foundation was zero but he is an extremely smart kid.
Steve Simpson, Briarcrest Christian HS Principal: He had enrolled in another program and it was not working for him and I thought to myself, I really don’t see how he can make it. So I said OK we will take you but you will be on an academic probation and we are not going to allow you to participate in anything until we can see some gradual and then some dramatic improvement in your grades.
Collins Tuohy (adoptive sister): I just remember thinking that’s the biggest person that I have ever seen in my entire life first and second, what is he doing at my school?
Narrator: On a chilly day over Thanksgiving break while driving past the school, the Tuohy family saw Oher in cutoff jeans and a t-shirt walking to the gym.
Leigh Anne Tuohy (Michael’s adoptive Mother): All that put together was very compelling and I mean you go, wait a minute, I can do something.
Sean Tuohy (Michael’s adoptive Father): She obviously looked into his heart and saw that there was more to his need than just food.
Leigh Anne Tuohy (Michael’s adoptive Mother): Michael just needed to be loved. I hugged him for a year before he even hugged me back. I think that that was the first time in his life that someone had proved that he knew in his hear that they had loved him for him.
Michael Oher: I felt like I was wanted here. I think that is what it was. I just felt like I was wanted and needed.
Narrator: Towards that end of his first semester, Oher was taken off of probation and was allowed to participate in athletics. Eventually, he found himself on the football field. Oher’s immense size and his sensational athleticism made him perfect for a lineman position.
Hugh Freeze (former HS coach): Defensive line…we felt we could line him up there and he didn’t have to do a whole lot of thinking but quickly we kind of figured out that his personality was more of an offensive line.
Narrator: Almost instantaneously, his rare combination of size and speed landed Oher as the number one offensive lineman prospect in the country and everyone wanted his services.
Sean Tuohy (Michael’s adoptive Father): It was the fastest recruiting of a high profile kid in the history of America because her wasn’t a prospect until February of his junior year and then recruiting didn’t last but 4 months!
Narrator: The Tuohy family was well known throughout Oxford, MS. Sean starred as a basketball player for Ole Miss while Leigh Anne cheered on the sidelines. Despite being heavily recruited from SEC powerhouses LSU and Tennessee, nothing could top the legacy of following in the footsteps of his adoptive parents.
Steve Simpson, Briarcrest Christian HS Principal: He showed us that he was a diamond in the rough if you will with a tremendous amount of determination. It’s just an instant when they come across that stage and the look in his eye, it meant the world to me to know that he had achieved that and he had a future.
Narrator: With High School diploma in hand and officially part of the Tuohy family, Oher has been protecting the blind side of Ole Miss for the past 3 seasons taking one intricate step at a time. Oher has claimed that life with the Tuohy’s has not changed him though if you ask anyone else this is not the same Michael Oher.
Collins Tuohy (adoptive sister): Michael is the most outgoing person you’ll meet. He has no problem asking a girl for her phone number and he has lots of friends and he has a great support system. I would have never thought when I first met him that this is who he would turn out to be.
Steve Simpson, Briarcrest Christian HS Principal: He’ll always say what Briarcrest has done for me and I always think, well Michael, you have been a blessing to us too.
Moving on to college….
Transcript from above video…
Michael Oher: I am just an intense player. I’m a full speed guy…this is all I know.
Narrator: This is Michael Oher now. He seems to be on top of the college football world now and he is but that has not always been the case. Oher was the subject of Michael Lewis’ book, “The Blindside“. He was one of thirteen children born to a mother addicted to crack. He did not know his real name, birthday or father. Michael didn’t even know how to read or write. His life though would change forever when he met the Tuohy family. Sean and his wife Leigh Anne were driving down one of the main boulevards of E. Memphis when off of a school bus stepped a big black kid. He was dressed in the same clothes that he always wore. Leigh Anne remarked that he was wearing shorts and Sean acknowledged that. And Leigh Anne said, “But it is snowing!” Sean walked up to him and asked him where he was going. Michael said to basketball practice. Sean told him that he did not have basketball practice. Oher turns to Sean and says, “I know…but they got heat in there.”
The narrator continues asking Michael: Growing up as a kid, did you ever think that you’d be here in this position right now?
Michael Oher: Honestly, I never saw it coming. Coming from where I am from, it is an unbelievable experience to be considered one of the best.
Narrator: Growing up on the streets of Memphis, Michael never imagined he’d be here. A step a It way from playing in the NFL.
Michael Oher: It’s a dream come true for me. I came a long ways. It’s been a long road for me. I just kept working hard and the hard work paid off for me.
Narrator: Nothing has come easy for Michael. He’s had to overcome more in his 22 years than most people in a lifetime.
Michael Oher: I just try to live day by day and give it my best effort and give it all I can every day.
Narrator: His hard work has definitely paid off for Michael. Once a kid who couldn’t afford to eat to being a young man making millions.
Narrator continues questioning Oher: What is the first thing that you are going to buy after the draft?
Michael: I have to buy a home. I need something to live in.
Michael’s statistics are impressive! He stands 6 foot 6 inches tall and weighs 322 pounds…the quintessential size for an offensive tackle. While he played for Ole Miss, he started 47 consecutive games, was an voted All-American the last two years of college. His other noteworthy awards were that he was voted All-SEC the last 3 years of college. He was a first team Freshman All-American and SEC All-Freshman in 2005. As a blocker, her helped his teammate BenJarvis Green-Ellis rush for 1000 yards in 2 consecutive seasons. Michael earned the Jacobs Blocking Trophy. This trophy is awarded by the vote of all the SEC coaches. He also received the Shug Jordan Award as the SE Offensive Lineman of the Year from The Touchdown Club of Atlanta. Oher also was honored by being only one of three finalist for the Outland Trophy and the Conerly Trophy (a trophy given to Mississippi’s top collegiate athlete). He also was one of 12 finalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award. Michael helped the Rebels rank 2nd in the SEC in rushing and 4th in sacks allowed. He served as team captain and was honored with the Colonel Earl “Red” Blaik Leadership Scholarship Award from the All-American Football Foundation. Consensus Top Ten pick on all NFL draft boards and was projected #1 overall pick by Yahoo/Rivals.com, USA Today, and Pro Football Weekly. There are many more accolades too numerous to list here for Michael Oher so I invite you to click here to read the huge list of awards and accomplishments.
Moving on to the NFL…
Transcript from the video:
Reporter: It’s NFL Draft Weekend lots of college football players will live their dreams and accomplish the impossible. None will have come farther than Michael Oher. Analysts predict that he will go in the first round. No matter…he’s already proved you can do anything with focus, determination, a little bit of help, and a whole lot of love. A moment came and changed Michael’s life. It happened when a family from the other side of the tracks spotted Michael walking through the snow in a Memphis winter. They picked him up and took him home and eventually took him in. Sean Tuohy and his family adopted Michael. They cheered as he started to play organized football his Junior year of High School and helped him to go Ole Miss where he became a left tackle for the Rebels. Michael became an All-American, led the Reb’s to a Cotton Bowl win and now he will take his game to the pros.
Michael: It’s a long road. Just going to the NFL and doing something that you like to do and fulfilling your dream is unbelievable.
Reporter: Michael’s story is already a book and a movie is on the way and all of this because of one man’s strength and one family’s support.
Michael Oher: They took me in and helped me out and I wouldn’t be here without them.
Reporter: Full disclosure… Michael’s Dad, Sean Tuohy, was an All-American basketball player when I was at Ole Miss…superstar…he and his wife Leigh Anne and the whole family will be with Big Mike at the draft tomorrow. Once homeless and now the cover story of USA Today Sports. Tomorrow, dreams come true…but clearly, they already have.
Day of the draft:
Reporters: Baltimore tried to get Orlando Pace but he chose to go to the Chicago Bears. They feel that at that right tackle that that is a need for them. They want to have a guy there that they can keep and he is a mainstay. They lost Johnathan Ogden. They got lucky last year…Anderson came in and saved them. He came in and gave them some key snaps…yes…he is standing up…it looks like the Commissioner is going to bring him out of the green room…that is great value for Baltimore.
NFL Commissioner: The New England Patriots have traded the twenty third pick to the Baltimore Ravens and with the 23rd pick in the 2009 NFL draft, the Baltimore Ravens select Michael Oher, offensive tackle Mississippi.
Reporters: That is tremendous value at pick number 23. The Ravens trade up…I think he can play right tackle in the NFL. I think he was a Top 10 pick physically but the knock on him has been inconsistency during a game…some busted assignments and to whether he is a ‘rep’ guy. But the bottom line is that he has a great physical skill set and he is a guy that can play in this league at tackle for a long long time.
Reporter 2: He is the subject of the famed book ‘The Blindside’. Many people have been following Michael Oher’s journey to this moment for a long long time. From his high school days to his days at Ole Miss and now he is going to be playing in Baltimore…Michael Oher…now a Raven.
Reporter 3: He get his hands on you he is a natural bender. Six 4 and half but sometimes he gets a bit high on you. Inconsistent technique but he does hustle on the backside.
Michael Oher introduced to the Baltimore Raven’s press and fans:
Michael Oher: I use to watch Walter Jones a lot, Orlando Pace and Johnathan Ogden too. I always tried to do what those guys did because those guys were getting done pretty good and I wanted to do the same. I have got to come in and compete and earn the trust of my coaches and my teammates as well. But I have go every tool I need to be a star and I want to compete right away and if I get the opportunity to start I am going to take care of my business. It’s been a long road for me. I have came a long way. I grew up in a rough neighborhood and had a rough upbringing. Some people said that I was suppose to be here and there but as long as I got drafted I going to spend a long time in the NFL. I don’t think I dropped… I am where I am suppose to be. To me it’s the best conference in college football. But I think that the SEC has the best players come out every year….I am going to be playing against a lot of those guys on Sunday. But the NFL is a big jump and I am going to have to work extremely hard. The Ravens have always had a great defense and they have a great tradition here and they won a Super Bowl. I am just happy to be part of it.
Coach: Well obviously we thought we were a pretty good pass protection team last year. Cam is rubbing his hands together right now working on formulas. Michael could end up being a tight end, a running back, a wide receiver, we may even have you on defense too. That is how we like to do it. Anytime you have an opportunity to extend your front with long tackles you do it. That’s the valuable thing.
Reporter: Michael, is the Steelers now a new Alabama for you?
Michael: Yes sir. You got to get past those guys.
In the 2009 regular season, Michael started all 16 games at either right or left tackle and helped the Ravens gain the 2nd highest total of offensive yardage in Raven’s history. Michael and his offensive line team mates also helped their wonderful running back Ray Rice to rush for over 2000 yards (2271). Big Mike and his team mates even made it to 2 post season contests and almost made it to the Super Bowl but lost to the Colts in the division title game. Great job Michael!
Michael was recently interviews by the USA Today staff about the perils of NFL rookies having too much money. Michael said that he was aware a recent story he saw on ESPN’s ‘Outside the Lines’ about an NFL player who signed a $110,000,000 (yep…$110 million!) contract his rookie year and now that he is retired after 13 seasons in the NBA, he is broke. Michael cautions all rookies that just because you have a TON of money now, that doesn’t mean you go out and buy everything you want. Buy what you need and manage your money so that your financial future is secure. He gave some good advice to live like you did when you were in college…don’t overspend on your needs and only purchase exactly what you need…not want! (*My thought: Your career could end tomorrow so this is great advice!) One last thing he cautioned young rookies about is that learn to say no EARLY in your career. He said that you will have relatives that you have never heard of come out of the woodwork trying to get you to give them things. He said you have to get use to the requests BUT you have to say no right away. (*My thought: Your future financial security will never depend on your long-lost “family” so don’t let them guilt you into giving them what they want! )
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Not sure what to think of this news story but Michael was moved to right tackle when the Ravens acquired free agent Bryant McKinnie from the Vikings. This guy comes with some baggage…he reported to Vikings camp out of shape at nearly 400 lbs. He was part of the Viking’s “Love Boat” fiasco that occurred a few years ago. He also was kicked off the NFC Pro Bowl team for missing practices back in 2009. You can read more about McKinnie in this article. We wish you well Michael!