Who Is Michael Oher?
Michael Oher came from a broken home and his estranged father was murdered while Oher was in high school. Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy became Oher's legal guardians and he developed into a college football star and a top NFL draft pick. Oher's story was told in Michael Lewis' book The Blind Side and the Sandra Bullock film of the same name.
Oher was born Michael Jerome Williams Jr. on May 28, 1986, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was one of 12 children born to Michael Jerome Williams Sr. and Denise Oher, who provided their children with little to no support. Michael Sr. was frequently in prison, and Denise was addicted to crack cocaine. As a result, Oher. was in-and-out of foster homes and frequently homeless. He also performed poorly as a student, repeating first grade and second grade and attending 11 different schools during his first nine years as a student. Oher's estranged father was murdered while Oher was a senior in high school.
The young boy was finally taken in by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy when he was 16, and the Tuohys became Oher's legal guardians when he was 17. In his junior year, Oher began to excel in football. By the beginning of his senior year, Oher was the starting left tackle on the varsity football team. He quickly became a top football prospect in the state of Tennessee, which led to multiple scholarship offers from Division 1 schools.
College Football Career and 'The Blind Side'
Oher experienced great success in 2004. A well-known football player, he received first team All-America honors from USA Today and was given the opportunity to play in the U.S. Army All-America Bowl. He also accepted a scholarship offer from the University of Mississippi after receiving offers from Tennessee, LSU, Alabama and NC State, among others. As a freshman offensive lineman, Oher played 11 games for the University of Mississippi, starting 10 of them at the right guard position. Oher was selected first team Freshman All-America by The Sporting News and first team Freshman All-SEC for his play in 2005.
In his sophomore season in 2006, Oher became a breakout star in the highly-competitive SEC after a move to his more natural position at left tackle. Oher earned second team All-SEC for his performance. That same year, the author Michael Lewis released a book titled The Blind Side, which detailed Oher's life from foster child to college football star. The book was turned into a movie in 2009 and starred Bullock. The movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the Year.
Oher continued to dominate at the left tackle position in his junior year. After being selected as a consensus first team All-SEC in 2007, Oher declared for the 2008 NFL Draft. After just two days, he rescinded his declaration for the NFL Draft to return for his senior season at University of Mississippi. Oher was one of the senior leaders on a University of Mississippi team that recorded its first winning record since 2003. The dominant left tackle was once again a consensus first team All-SEC, as well as a first team All-America selection by The Associated Press.
In the 2009 NFL Draft, Oher was selected 23rd overall by the Baltimore Ravens. He started all 16 games for the Ravens and helped the team reach the playoffs in his first season with the team.
During the 2012-13 season, Oher helped take the Ravens all the way to Super Bowl XLVII. Held in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Super Bowl pitted the Baltimore Ravens against the San Francisco 49ers. Oher and his teammates emerged victorious in this battle for the championship in a tight game, scoring 34 points to the 49ers' 31 points. After his impressive win, Oher told ABC News that "I came so far—from nothing to a Super Bowl championship," Oher told ABC News. "I'm in shock right now."
A free agent following the 2014 season, Oher joined the Carolina Panthers after being recruited by the team's quarterback, Cam Newton. Oher's strong performance in 2015 helped Newton win the MVP award, and served as a major cog in the team's run to a berth in Super Bowl 50. He was released from the Panthers in 2017.
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