The Backstory: Even before the days of Frank Kush, the Arizona State football program enjoyed a proud tradition. Hundreds of players have appeared on All-American and All-Conference teams throughout the years, and many of our legends come from the earliest eras of Sun Devil football.
Today, we look at one of our more recent legends. Josh Barrett came to Arizona State in the mid 2000s, and brought with him a winning mindset. Barrett took on the role of wearing No. 19, which up to the time he wore it did not have much of a tradition. In fact, no Sun Devil who wore No. 19 prior to Barrett appeared on an All-Conference list, but he changed that. Barrett became a team leader, and in turn, became the leader that No. 19 so desperately needed.
The Player: Josh Barrett (2003-2007)
Some of the most famous NFL players earned their way into starting spots through working at practice and seeing action on special teams. While first round draft picks still have to prove their worth to see the field, their road is always easier than late round picks or undrafted free agents.
In Josh Barrett's case, he was the college version of a first round draft pick. But what separated the Nevada native was his late round heart. Barrett earned every minute of playing time he saw as a Sun Devil, and contributed in each of his four seasons.
Coming out of high school, Barrett was the Nevada 4A Player of the Year and a star on both sides of the football. Though he excelled at wide receiver, Barrett moved to safety at Arizona State to help fill a team need.
As a freshman, Barrett found the field early and often as he recovered a fumble in his first career game and went on to start four games. Barrett intercepted his first career pass against the Arizona Wildcats.
In 2005, Barrett didn't break into the lineup as a regular starter, but he did prove his value as a special teamer. Like those late-round journeymen vying for a spot, Barrett put his all into his special teams play and he earned ASU's Special Teams Iron Man Award.
In the offseason, Barrett established himself as one of the team's hardest workers, and his can-do attitude helped make him a team captain. Barrett was the rare junior captain, but he backed up his status with excellent on-field performances. Barrett was Arizona State's Defensive MVP, and earned Honorable Mention All Pac-10 honors as well as First Team All Academic Pac-10 recognition.
Barrett also paced the Sun Devils with 82 tackles, and his leadership and athletic abilities helped him keep his role as a team captain for the 2007 season. Though Barrett was banged up throughout his senior season, he finished his career on a high note as Arizona State finished 10-3 and enjoyed a thrilling 20-17 win over Arizona in the Territorial Cup.
The Sun Devils were grateful to Barrett for his service on and off the field, and we are grateful to him for helping fill the void at No. 19.
In the Pros: Though he was highly touted coming out of high school, Barrett was an underrated prospect out of college. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos and later joined the New England Patriots.