Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Early Looks: OT Michael Oher (Ole Miss)

One of the top Offensive Tackles in the nation last season, three year starting OL Michael Oher decided to forgo the 2008 NFL Draft and instead return to Ole Miss for his senior season. Many projected this 6'6 322 pound athlete as a mid to late 1st round pick this year where he would have competed with an NFL record 7 offensive tackles selected in the 1st round last April.

Oher is best known as the centerpiece of author Michael Lewis's 2006 book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game which chronicles Oher's upbringings (a murdered father, a drug addicted mother, and countless foster homes) to his eventual success late in High School athletics and becoming one of the top college football prospects in the nation. He turned down full-ride scholarships to: Tennessee, LSU, Alabama, and N.C. State to play for his adopted family's alma mater University of Mississippi (Ole Miss).

After starting for the past three seasons, in 2007 Oher was an AP and coaches first-team All-SEC selection and named to numerous All-American teams. While Ole Miss struggled on offense, Oher was a key component in helping RB BenJarvis Green-Ellis rush for over 1,000 yards.

Oher posses a massive physical frame and has excellent foot work for a OT. He can control the line of scrimmage, is forceful in run blocking and can get to the second level to attack pursuing linebackers. He needs to work on his pass protection and can quit on blocks too soon. He uses good technique and plays with aggression. Oher is quick enough to play the highly coveted Left Offensive Tackle position in the NFL and has shown consistency and durability in starting 34 consecutive games.

After an extensive training program this off season (increasing his bench press by more than 70 pounds and improved conditioning), according to Oher, he is entering the 2008 season in the best shape of his life. Look for him to have a huge year and solidify himself as one of the Top 15 overall picks in the 2009 draft.

Noteworthy games: Sept 27th at Florida; Oct 18th at Alabama; Nov 22nd at LSU

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