by Greg Akers
The kid grew up in a rough, poor neighborhood, disadvantaged at birth by a broken home. He was one of 13 kids, didn't know his dad, mom was a drug addict. He was in foster care sometimes. Sometimes he was homeless.
Then, serendipity struck. In a series of events, the kid got into a good private school as a special case, then he was invited into the home of an affluent, white family who took pity on the struggling black kid. Then they became his legal guardians. Then he got good at football. Then he was recruited at a major college to play ball. Today he's going to be picked in the first round of the NFL draft.
It sounds like a Hollywood story. It's actually a tale straight outta Memphis. The kid is Michael Oher, and today he's going to be made a millionaire.
Oher is the darling of this year's draft. He's the human face everybody is putting on this year's sports geek fest. Major profiles have appeared all across the country in this week's papers, and his story will be recounted numerous times in the draft coverage on ESPN today. Oher is projected to be picked somewhere between 5 and 12.
Oher has been a known quantity since Michael Lewis' bestselling book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game came out in 2006. The book considers the left tackle position on the offensive line and its importance to the sport, and it tells Oher's story as a prized recruit in that crucial position. He played college ball at Ole Miss.
And, of course, Hollywood always wins in the end. The Blind Side is in production as a major studio film. Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw star as ma and pa Tuohy, the parents that take Oher in. Oher's played by Quinton Aaron. And Kathy Bates plays tutor Miss Sue. Principal photography for The Blind Side has begun in Atlanta.
And there's a nice story on Aaron, the actor playing Oher, from the L.A. Times.