"He just needed someone to more or less, mentor him, and to tell him what's out there for him. He didn't know how to get into college," said Mike Ray's wife Billie. "So when Mike got involved, it gave him a reason to study, and a reason to go to school and do well."
Brown, a shy, quiet kid, became another loving member of the Ray family -- another son to Mike and Billie and a brother to their two boys, Cullin and Conrad.
"They really take care of me.They just make me feel good on the inside," Brown said of the Rays. "[Cullin and Conrad are] like little brothers to me. I mean, I play with them all the time and they get on me about my school work too."
Now, Brown has an extended family to love, nurture, and support him.
"I'm surrounded by two good families and it just seems like nothing can go wrong," Brown said.
In February, Ray posted game footage of Brown on YouTube, showing how the offensive tackle plowed through defenders like a "Mack truck."
"Within 24 hours, the thing had 3,800 hits," Bill Courtney recalled. "And then this recruiter from Oklahoma State calls and says, 'I've never seen anything like it...and I want to meet this kid.'"
Nearly a year and a half after moving into Mike and Billie Ray's home, Brown is on the cusp of something big. Since his grades improved, universities offered Brown ten football scholarships.
Like Oher, Brown plans to play left tackle at college. He'll attend the University of Southern Mississippi next fall.
"I think it's awesome. I mean for a guy to be homeless, and now he's really successful in life? That's, that's a big step. And I think he's feeling pretty good about now," Brown said of Oher.
And like Michael Oher, a feature length documentary is soon to be released about Brown's remarkable life.
"The Michael Oher story is much different from the O.C. story," Courtney told "20/20," "But the most important thing that people need to get from this -- you can take what you're good at, work hard at it, be disciplined in it and the help will come because there's people standing in line that want to help folks do well."
With just a few months of high school to go, Brown has been given a tremendous gift -- the chance for a future that until now he could only dream of.
"They've been a big help to O.C. They really, really have," said Hayes. "They let O.C. know that they love him, and they want the best for him. His Mom would be very proud of him. If she was living today, she would be very proud of him."
Brown said that the Rays brought "hope and passion" into his life. He said he wants "to be like them because they take care of their family. And that's the kind of man I want to be."
Brown plans to get a degree in education to become be a coach, so that he can help other players the way he was helped.
"I want to be a coach to make players feel good just like Coach Bill and Coach Ray," he said, "I just want to be successful in life."
To learn more about Man Rise and its work in the Memphis area, visit its Web site.