Moviegoers who saw Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher's saga depicted in the "The Blind Side" recall Sean Tuohy Jr. as the future football star's rambunctious little brother who interrogated big-time college coaches when they came to the family's Memphis, Tenn., home on recruiting trips.
Tuohy is now a senior at the same private high school where Oher was discovered, and a pretty good basketball player — good enough to earn a scholarship at Loyola University, where Tuohy has committed orally to play beginning next season.
A 6-foot-1, 195-pound guard who, according to Briarcrest Christian School coach John Harrington, is a "pass-first and pass-second point guard," Tuohy said in a telephone interview Wednesday night that his recruitment to Loyola began when his parents met Greyhounds coach Jimmy Patsos "two months ago" at an event in Baltimore.
"I was being recruited by a lot of smaller Division I schools like Loyola. They looked it up online and called some people, and it took off a little bit," Tuohy said.
Shortly afterward, Tuohy got a call from Patsos. It was about 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and Tuohy was half asleep.
"He told me I was going to love it there because they didn't do anything before 9 in the morning," Tuohy said. "That was the first time I talked to him, and I remember thinking, 'This is the guy I want to play for.'"
Patsos is not allowed to talk about recruits until they sign a national letter of intent.
"He's a smart player," Oher said of Tuohy. "He can find an open guy. He knows how to play the game. I enjoy watching him. His dad is the SEC leader in assists still to this day, so he likes to pass the ball."
Harrington, who also coached Oher when he was a finalist for Tennessee's Mr. Basketball award as a senior, said Tuohy could have been a walk-on at Mississippi, where his father, Sean Sr., remains the school's (and Southeastern Conference's) all-time assists leader, or played on scholarship at smaller Southern schools such as Louisiana Tech or Arkansas State.
"Sean wanted to play at a high level; he wanted to get away from home," Harrington said.
Tuohy said Oher's playing in Baltimore did not factor into his decision to come to Loyola.
"It was really almost an afterthought," Tuohy said. "I talked to the coach and looked at the school a little bit, and it was like, 'Oh, yeah, my brother lives 15 minutes from campus.' I don't think it impacted my decision, but it definitely makes me feel more comfortable with it."
Said Oher: "I didn't know until a couple of days ago. I thought he'd go to Ole Miss like his father. But he has his own mind, and I'm going to enjoy having him up here.
"It's big," Oher added. "I get to go to most of the home games, just to see him play. I didn't get a chance to watch him in high school much, so I get a chance to watch him a lot more, especially if he's coming up here to play."
Harrington said Tuohy and Oher have become "best friends" in the eight years since the Ravens player showed up at Briercrest virtually homeless and was eventually asked by the Tuohys to move in with them. His story eventually was told in a book by Michael Lewis and made into the hit movie.
Oher wound up attending Mississippi, from which Sean Tuohy Sr. and his wife, Leigh Anne, graduated. Oher's recruitment to Mississippi was the subject of an NCAA investigation.
Sean Tuohy Jr. — known to his friends and family as SJ — was barely a teenager during Oher's recruitment and had no trouble talking to the likes of Alabama coach Nick Saban, then coaching at LSU, as well as several other high-profile coaches.
Was he portrayed accurately?
"Sadly, it was very true," he said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun