Last night an SEC recruiting junkie a lot like you and me won an Oscar.
Rich Middlemas, a University of Tennessee grad who moved to Hollywood soon after graduation, is a huge Volunteer fan who follows recruiting. Back in 2009 he came across a Memphis Commercial-Appeal story about O.C. Brown, a large lineman from a poor Memphis city school, who'd emerged as a sought after recruit. That article grabbed his attention and soon after Middlemas and his producing partners, Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, were in Memphis exploring O.C. Brown's story.
But that trip only whetted their appetite.
Shortly after that meeting, Middlemas called me and said the story was much bigger than O.C. Brown's recruitment, bigger than a real life "Blind Side." During their trip to Memphis Rich, Dan, and T.J. had seen a much bigger story, one about a school full of underdogs at Memphis Manassas, the story of a team where football provided a vital linchpin of life.
By the summer the trio had sold their idea and were relocating to Memphis to embed themselves with the high school football team.
That was in the summer of 2009.