Michael Oher #74 OT
Height: 6-4 Weight: 315 Age: 26
Born: 5/28/1986 Memphis , TN
Experience: 5th season
High School: Briarcrest Christian School [Memphis, TN]
Selected By: Baltimore Ravens
Pick (Overall): 23 (23)
The subject of the New York Times bestseller by Michael Lewis, "The Blind Side: The Evolution of a Game," Oher has been the anchor of the Rebels' offensive line since being inserted into the starting lineup after the second game of his freshman season. He lined up at right offensive guard during his first season at Mississippi before shifting to the demanding left tackle position as a sophomore. He would end his career with the third-best active consecutive starts string (47) among Southeastern Conference players.
Received more national attention as a senior, as the Southeastern Conference's Jacobs Blocking Trophy recipient, the honor going to the league's top offensive linemen. Behind Oher's drive blocking, the Rebels improved from ranking 84th in the nation in rushing (131.5 yards per game) to 28th (second in the SEC) in 2008 (186.46 yards per game).
New coach Houston Nutt was very confident in putting young quarterback Javon Snead on the field, knowing that Oher would help protect his passer's blind side. Ole Miss let its left tackle carry them to a 2009 Cotton Bowl victory, as the 2008 squad went from being the 91st-ranked offense in the nation (345.25 yards per game) in 2007 to 29th overall and third in the SEC with an average of 407.62 yards per game in '08.
Oher was regarded as one of the finest offensive linemen in the nation at Briarcrest Christian School. The EA Sports and USA Today All-American choice was a member of the 2005 Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association All-Star team selected to compete against the Kentucky prep all-stars. He also competed in the U.S. Army All-America Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, and was named to Rivals.com's All-American Bowl All-Time Team.
Oher was picked by Tom Lemming/ESPN as the nation's top offensive tackle and named to the Super Prep All-America team (ranked No. 24 among offensive linemen by that service), which also had him on its Dixie Team. He was rated the fifth-best offensive lineman in the country and eighth-best overall prospect in the South by Scout.com, as well picking up first-team All-American recognition.
Oher was named the best player in the state of Tennessee by the Knoxville News-Sentinel and rated the second-best player in the South by the Mobile Register as a member of its Super Southeast 120 squad. He was named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100 and chosen Tennessee "Mr. Football" and Offensive Lineman of the Year.
As a senior, the first-team All-South selection by Fox Sports and the Orlando Sentinel was credited with 130 knockdown blocks, grading over 90% for blocking consistency, as he did not allow a quarterback sack. As a junior, he posted 83 knockdowns and graded 85%, helping lead Briarcrest to a 10-3 record and 2004 state championship.
In addition to earning two letters in football, Oher also lettered twice in both basketball and track. The basketball team went 27-6 in 2004, winning the district championship, as Oher averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds per game, earning All-State honors as well as making the Sun Coast All-Tourney team. In track, he was state runner-up in the discus.
Heavily recruited by many major colleges, Oher enrolled at Mississippi in 2005. He moved into the starting lineup in the second game of the season, starting the final 10 contests at right offensive guard. He produced 64 knockdowns, a remarkable total for a team that managed to average only 73.27 yards per game rushing, as the ground attack produced just six touchdowns for the season. For his performance, he was selected Freshman All-American first-team by Rivals.com and The Sporting News.
Oher was named All-Southeastern Conference second-team as a sophomore. He shifted to left offensive tackle in 2006, delivering 83 knockdowns while clearing the way for BenJarvus Green-Ellis to become just the third player in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season.
Rated the third-best offensive tackle in college football by Lindy's magazine in 2007, Oher received All-American fourth-team accolades. He started all 12 games at left tackle, coming up with 99 knockdowns that included 12 touchdown-resulting blocks, including each of the team's eight rushing scores. Green-Ellis gained more than 70% of his 1,137 yards rushing (second-best season total by an Ole Miss player) running behind Oher.
Oher contemplated leaving school after his junior year. He originally applied for inclusion in the 2008 NFL Draft, but two days after announcing his intention to leave, the left tackle had a change of heart and withdrew his application. "While I felt good about being projected as a possible first-round pick and had everybody in my corner, it just kept coming back to me that I was leaving some unfinished business at Ole Miss," Oher said. "It's really about winning more games and going to a bowl game. I wanted to be a part of making that happen."
Oher worked hard in the offseason, greatly improving his overall strength and increased his bench press by over 70 pounds. He was a consensus All-American and unanimous All-Southeastern Conference first-team pick. The team captain won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy and was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, given to the nation's top blocker. He was also one of three finalists for the Conerly Trophy, given to the state of Mississippi's top collegiate player. He led the SEC blockers with an 87.77% grade for blocking consistency, en route to producing 99 knockdowns with a league-high seventeen touchdown-resulting blocks.