Quiet confidence carries Cameron Lazare from role player to Demon standout

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NSU's Cameron Lazare
NSU’s Cameron Lazare catches a 6-yard touchdown pass last season in a win over Kentucky Wesleyan at Turpin Stadium (Photo by Gary Hardamon, Northwestern State).

NATCHITOCHES – For Northwestern State wide receiver Cameron Lazare, being overlooked was always a consequence of his relatively modest 5-11 frame, whether it was at home or on the field.

But the senior is finally getting his shot for the Demons, and now, he’s the one standing tall thanks to a confident demeanor that was instilled in him at a young age.

Lazare, who had a career-best eight catches (for 70 yards) last week at Grambling, is among a 21-man senior class leading the NSU football team into its home debut and Southland Conference opener Saturday evening at 6 in Turpin Stadium against Lamar.

The Lazare family hails from Baton Rouge, where the family frequently made prep headlines competing for Woodlawn High School. However, the real competition did not come in the gym or on the field, but in the family driveway, where Cameron was the youngest, and smallest, of three siblings.

His oldest brother, Darnell, stands 6-8 and received a basketball scholarship from LSU before going onto a 10-year pro career overseas. The middle brother, Braylon reaches 6-5, and he played forward for UL-Lafayette before earning his bachelor’s degree. His sister, Kerrilyn, touches 6-1 and followed in her mother’s footsteps as member of the Ragin’ Cajun volleyball team.

“Darnell is ten years older than me, Braylon is three years older than me, so growing up I was always playing older competition and getting banged around in the driveway,” Lazare said. “But playing against my older brothers really kind of shaped the way my game is today, I learned to play bigger than I am.”

All those hours against older, more daunting foes produced a confidence level that has never wavered, even as he did not record a catch during his first two seasons in Natchitoches. That can be partially attributed to playing behind the two most productive receivers in NSU history, Ed Eagan (177 catches from 2012-15) and Shakeir Ryan (140 from 2013-16).

“Obviously I had some skilled guys in front me on the depth chart, but me being the competitor I am, the athlete I know I am, I was thinking ‘I can beat anyone out,’ ” Lazare said. “It is the competitive edge I have always had because of how and who I grew up with. I do not want to watch anyone play. I want to play.”

His first catch as a Demon was eye-popping, a leaping, twisting stab over a defender on the NSU sideline at Central Arkansas last September for a 36-yard gain. His breakout game came in the 2016 season finale, where Lazare recorded seven catches for 132 yards and a touchdown.

Instead of hanging his hat on a career game, this offseason Lazare rededicated himself to his craft.

“That game really let me know the success I can have if I continue to put in the work and stay dedicated,” Lazare said. “My preparation was on a different level last year, so I knew I had to step it up even more for this season.”

Lazare still remembers the sting of last year’s 32-31 loss suffered at Lamar last year, particularly because of the production, or lack of it, of his receiving corps.

“We try not to look at last season too much, but we have to remember how and what happened,” Lazare said. “It left a sour taste, especially for the wide receivers, because we only had two catches that game. We want to go out and make the defensive backs respect us, and respect our team this year.”

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