Oregon offensive tackle Darrion Weems has experienced some highs and some lows in his young life. The worst of it came on August 29th, 2005.
"It kind of hurt me because I was leaving all my friends behind, essentially leaving my whole life behind to start something new up," said Weems.
Hurricane Katrina was the costliest natural disaster in American history and the third strongest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in the U.S. Katrina displaced more than one million gulf coast residents, including Darrion Weems and his family.
"When it happens and it's home and it directly affects you, there really isn't words or anything you could use to describe it," said Weems. "It's like an other-worldly feeling, man."
Before Kartina hit the gulf coast, Weems and his family evacuated to Memphis and then moved to Los Angeles. Weems has never been back to New Orleans.
"I've never, never seen my home again," said Weems.
But Louisiana's loss is Oregon' gain.
"A blessing in disguise, it was for me," said Weems who has a tatoo on his left bicept, displaying the state of Louisiana with the date 8-29-05 (the date Katrina made landfall) and the words 'A Blessing In Disguise.' "Through that I was able to get out of that inner city and the way I was living there and go to L.A., experience some new things, different cultures and get an opportunity to come here and play football."
At Autzen Stadium, Darrion Weems plays in front of nearly 60,000 fans every Saturday. As a kid though, Weems dreamed of playing in front of more than 90,000 fans at LSU's Tiger Stadium.
"That was my team back in the day," said Weems. "It used to hurt me when they would lose and I was a little kid."
On September 3rd, Weems will play against LSU at Cowboys Stadium where the seating capacity can be expanded to seat over 100,000 fans.
"My mom and my family live in Dallas now," said Weems. "That's where the relocated to. I get to play in front of my family who I don't really get to play in front of that often."
Weems was considered the sicth starter on Oregon's offensive line loast season, making seven starts in 2010. He'll be part of a unit that is replacing three starters.
"It's coming along well," said Weems. "I've been here a while and played a lot of football. So, there's a lot of guys that I'm helping come along."
And it's that human interaction with teammages, friends and family that brings Weems his highest of highs.