Once he was cleared for eligibility, Oher played 11 games as a freshman at Mississippi, starting the last 10 games of the season at right guard. Oher was a first team Freshman All-America selection by The Sporting News and a first team Freshman All-SEC selection.
As a sophomore, Oher moved to his natural position of left tackle. His blocking helped Mississippi running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis run for 1,000 yards, becoming just the third 1,000-yard rusher in school history. He was a second team All-SEC selection. Oher was one of only three sophomore offensive linemen selected to an All-SEC team that season.
Oher once again started every game at left tackle as a junior, paving the way for Green-Ellis to run for 1,137 rushing yards, the second-most in school history. Oher was a consensus first team All-SEC selection, leading him to declare for the 2008 NFL Draft. However, two days after declaring, Oher changed his mind and chose to return to Mississippi for his senior season.
As a senior, Oher helped Mississippi improve to an 8-4 regular-season record, their first winning season since 2003. The Rebels earned a berth in the Cotton Bowl, the first Bowl appearance of Oher's career and the first for Mississippi since the 2003 season. Oher was again a consensus first team All-SEC selection and was a first team All-America selection by the Associated Press. He was a finalist for the 2008 Outland Trophy, but lost to fellow SEC standout Andre Smith of Alabama.
Oher started all 16 games as a rookie for the Ravens, playing primarily at right tackle but also seeing time at left tackle. Oher helped the Ravens reach the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Oher's turbulent upbringing was the subject of Michael Lewis's 2006 book "The Blind Side", which detailed his path from foster child to college football star. The movie rights to the book were purchased by 20th Century Fox. The movie was released on Nov. 20, 2009. It was directed by John Lee Hancock, the director of the 2002 Disney movie "The Rookie", which told the true story of former Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Jim Morris. The movie stars Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy, Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy and Quinton Aaron as Oher. The movie earned $34.5M at the domestic box office in its opening weekend, setting a record for a sports drama. It was the eighth-highest grossing movie of 2009, earning more than $200M at the domestic box office.
Oher's adopted father, Sean Tuohy, played basketball at Ole Miss in the 1980s, and was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in the 10th round (218th overall) in 1982. He still holds SEC records for most assists in a season and career.