Faith and family have always been most important to Ryan Morgan, and the Lompoc High School senior said family is a big reason why he will continue his education, and football career, at Arizona State University.

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound tight end signed a full-ride football scholarship with the Sun Devils. Wyoming and UNLV also pursued Morgan, but he went with Arizona State.

“Obviously, a big advantage is that I won’t be that far in distance from my family, and they can come and see me play,” said Morgan.

“At the same time, I’ll have the ability to live alone and grow in that sense, too.”

Morgan was the Lompoc nominee for the 2020 Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table Male Athlete of the Year scholarship honor. He eventually was named the Round Table's Athlete of the Year last month. The NSBCART had given its scholarship honors during its annual awards dinner, but the 2020 dinner was cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Morgan played football, basketball, baseball and ran track at Lompoc. His scholarship application lists 33 athletic, academic or spirit awards and lists 16 community or student government activities.

He was a First Team CIF Southern Section tight end his senior football season.

He attends La Purisima Church in Lompoc. “Arizona State has a church on campus and I’ll go there, at least in the beginning,” said Morgan.

Besides other advantages, Morgan said, “Arizona State is (NCAA) Division I, and in the Pac-12, which I always dreamed of.

“When I visited there, it just clicked.”

Morgan comes from a large family. He has eight siblings. 

"Being a part of a church helped me get through some of the hardest times of my life," Morgan wrote in his Round Table scholarship essay. "Through my religious education, I became a better person."

Morgan already has a family connection at Arizona State. His cousin Jacob Nunez, a dominating offensive lineman for Lompoc during his time there, also signed to play football for the Sun Devils. Nunez is enrolled at Arizona State.

“He graduated from Lompoc early and went to Arizona State right after he graduated, in December,” said Morgan.

“He was taking some online courses there and then (COVID-19) happened. He came back to Lompoc and is taking online classes again.”

Morgan said, “I had originally planned to go (to Arizona State) right after graduation and take an online course. Now, hopefully, I can take some online courses there some time after graduation.

“I’ll definitely be there on time for the fall semester.”

He said he has been able to work out on his own in the midst of the statewide shelter-in-place directive.

“My dad ordered a weight set, and I just go through all the weights day by day.”

Morgan's father Scott played basketball and baseball at Gonzaga in Washington State. His mother, Claudia, also played basketball at Gonzaga. Morgan is the second of his siblings to win an Athlete of the Year honor. Danielle Morgan, a Lompoc High standout who plays basketball at Hancock College, was named the Female Athlete of the Year in 2018.


Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.