"I played quarterback just a few games in high school... for about three games," Lamart Barrett told Pack Pride. "I was at wide receiver with Devin Aromashodu, he's starting at receiver for Auburn, and we were not getting the ball. Coach asked me to go to quarterback for a couple of games until the line got better. I scrambled around and passed the ball to Devin, and he showed what he could do. I wasn't catching the ball then, but I was showing what I could do with the ball in my hands."
After his senior year, Barrett decided to attend Avon Old Farms, an all-boys boarding school located in Avon, Connecticut. At Avon Old Farms Barrett was able to showcase his talents at wide receiver as he tallied 29 receptions for 560 yards and 10 touchdowns. Barrett eventually signed with NC State over offers from Auburn, Maryland, and North Carolina, among others.
"I went to prep school for a year after that," he said. "I played receiver all the time then. I was able to stay there and catch a lot of passes. We had a good quarterback named Brett Weyman.
"The level of competition wasn't equal to what I was used to in Miami, but it gave me an extra year to lift weights, work on my routes, and catch the ball better."
After failing to qualify prior to the 2002 season, Barrett joined the Wolfpack in January of 2003, and he attended the Gator Bowl with the team that year. He played sparingly as a true freshman, recording five catches for 30 yards while playing eight games. As a sophomore, he really started to emerge, registering 24 catches for 326 yards while starting NC State's final five games of the 2004 season.
Through five games this year, Barrett has 10 receptions for 137 yards, averaging 13.7 yards per catch. When discussing the Wolfpack's offensive playmakers, Barrett's name is usually left out, but that isn't a concern of his because he knows his role on NC State's team.
"It's kind of the same situation we had last year with Tramain [Hall], T.J. [Williams], all the running backs, T.A. [McLendon], Richard Washington and all of those guys," Barrett said. "We have a lot of great players, but I wasn't one of the highly recruited guys. I'm a guy who came in, worked hard, and tries to make plays when I'm called."
He did just that last week against Clemson. Barrett led NC State with four catches for 78 yards, including a 29-yarder from reserve quarterback Marcus Stone and a couple of acrobatic catches across the middle for key first downs early in the game. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder believes that making those type of catches each week is what makes a great receiver.
"As a receiver, that's what seperates you," Barrett said. "Anybody can catch the ball that hits them in the chest. When you have to go make that big catch, the spectacular catch, the catch that every receiver can't make... that's special.
"That's something you want to take pride in. Anytime the ball is thrown to you, it is your time to make a play on it."
Despite Barrett's individual success against Clemson, the NC State offense struggled to generate drives and scored just ten points, the Wolfpack's lowest output of the season. Barrett hopes the offense can start clicking this weekend in Winston-Salem.
"We have the guys, we just have to put it all together," he said. "I know watching from off the field it might look bad, but we're close. When you're on offense, all 11 guys have to work together and sometimes it could be just one guy that makes the play not work. We have to work on those little things and make sure everybody is on the same page, but we feel confident going into this game."
Statistically Wake Forest's defense is one of the worst in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Fielding a unit that starts just one senior, the Demon Deacons defense is last in the league in total defense (406 ypg) and pass defense (267 ypg) and next-to-last in scoring defense (30.6 ppg). If NC State's offense is going to start clicking, it just might happen facing Wake Forest, but Barrett and the other players on the Wolfpack offensive unit have a lot of respect for the Demon Deacons.
"They have a pretty good defense," he said. "They have a good scheme, and they are good in their coverages. They don't make many mistakes. We have to be strong in our routes and make a play when we have a chance to."