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January 13, 2005

Oher doesn't like being center of attention

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Tennessee is not known for producing big time football talent with one exception, the city of Memphis. The top player out of the city of Memphis this year is Briarcrest Christian offensive lineman Michael Oher. He projects as an offensive tackle on the next level, however, this week he has moved to a different spot on the line and had some quite interesting things to say about the experience.

"I have been playing center all week long," Oher said. "I don't know why they chose me to play center, but for whatever reason they did. I have never played there before and no one is recruiting me as a center, but I kind of like it. You get to be the first person to touch the ball every play. You have a lot more responsibility than I realized because you can cause a fumble any play if you're not careful."

The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Oher is a monster kid with an athletic build. He runs surprisingly well for someone his size. Just giving him the eyeball test you wouldn't guess that he weighed 330 pounds because of his muscular build, but during weigh in he has proved that he is indeed in the 330-pound range. He talked a little bit about his experience thus far in San Antonio.

"This is just really great," Oher said. "It's great to be able to come out here with all of the best players in the nation and all. It has really been fun to come in and compete with all of these guys. You hear about all of these other lineman that are highly ranked and it is nice to see how I am able to stack up with all of these other guys around the country."

Oher will not be announcing his decision during the game on Saturday, but fans will not have to wait much longer to hear the announcement of Oher's decision.

"I am planning on announcing Monday," Oher said. "I still may wait longer than Monday, but right now I am planning on doing it then. My coach is flying out to the game out here and I am going to sit down with him and we are going to discuss all of this. I honestly have not made my decision yet. I am close to making my decision and I think I could make a pick, but I do not have it in my mind yet."

Oher is ranked as the No. 54 ranked player overall and the No. 8 offensive tackle in the country by Rivals.com. He is also ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the state of Tennessee behind Patrick Turner.

"I still have a trip set to Memphis on January 21 and LSU on January 28," Oher said. "I am down to Tennessee, Ole Miss and LSU right now. I still have trips to take, but I feel like I can make a decision before I take those. I have been down to LSU a whole bunch of times so I already know all about it down there so I don't really need that visit to know whether I would want to go there or not."

Though Oher may not exactly know his destination he does know the factors that will ultimately lead to his decision whenever he makes the announcement.

"I really want to know what the coaches are like," Oher said.

"Are the coaches guys that are going to care about you as a person or as a football player? My high school coach is like my best friend and I would like to have a relationship like that with my coach in college too. I want to go somewhere that the fans and the whole program in general treat their guys like family. I like to be able to trust people. Also, wherever I go I want to be able to win games and compete for championships. I didn't lose many games in my high school career and I do not want to start now."

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