Lompoc High football now has its third Pac-12 football commit since 2013.
And this time it’s Jacob Nunez.
The standout offensive lineman — who has collected All-Channel League, All-Los Padres League and All-Area accolades for paving the way on the Braves’ front line — announced his verbal commitment to Arizona State on the Fourth of July.
The Class of 2020 prospect Nunez now joins Ainuu Taua (UCLA, Class of 2014) and Lavon Coleman (Washington, 2013) as LHS Braves who chose to pursue a future in the Pac-12, now making it three Braves in the last six years.
Nunez originally had hoped to announce his choice later during the fall season. But he immediately fell in love with the atmosphere and positive vibe on the ASU campus — ultimately leading to his decision to commit now.
“Deep down I was definitely hoping to get my commitment out the way so I can focus on myself and my overall health this season,” Nunez said. “But without a doubt the place I wanted to be.”
His recent trip to the Pac-12 campus helped solidify his decision.
“Some words that explain my visit are: Respect, breathtaking and also, without a doubt, home,” Nunez said. “Getting my commitment out the way feels like a huge boat just got off me and I feel a lot more stress free.”
The 6-foot-3, 285-pound Nunez first began receiving the scholarship offers in March, when Dartmouth of the Ivy League and Nevada of the Mountain West Conference (the college home of 2018 LHS grad Toa Taua) extended its education opportunities to Nunez.
May, though, was the month when he became a certified Pac-12 target — as Pac-12 title game runner-up the University of Utah (the alma mater of Braves offensive line coach Matt Sims) offered the left tackle. Then along came USC, Washington State and ASU — the latter arriving on May 21.
The Sun Devils ultimately sold him in the end. And one man who helped close the sales pitch about ASU to Nunez was Herm Edwards; the Sun Devils’ second-year head coach and longtime NFL coach.
“Herm is a very outgoing person who cares for his players not only on but off the field and is a very funny person,” Nunez said.
Currently, ASU has 13 verbal commitments for the 2020 cycle according to the 247 Sports website sundevilsource.com. Four of the 13 commits, including Nunez, represent future offensive linemen for the Sun Devils.
Before Nunez chose ASU, the Sun Devils scored two offensive guard commitments out of Frank Thompson of Liberty High in Peoria, Arizona, and Micah Soliai Howlett of Kahuku High in Hawaii, both announcing their pledge to ASU on June 13.
Nunez believes he may be placed inside once he gets to ASU, saying “They haven’t told me a specific position but most likely inside at guard or center. They especially like my effort, toughness and overall nastiness that I have when I’m on the field.”
Arizona State will be losing six seniors to graduation following the conclusion of the 2019-20 campaign — helping prompt the need to load up on offensive linemen for the future.
Nunez will be entering his fourth varsity season when Lompoc opens the 2019-20 season at home against Simi Valley. He plans to sign his National Letter of Intent during the NCAA December Signing Period and wants to sign off on the papers in his hometown of Nipomo.
“My brother Willie told me to excel in school, find every opportunity, seize the moment, believe in yourself and be confident with your decisions,” Iribarren said. Now, the southpaw quarterback is hoping to be the next from the Iribarren household to find a future college home, plus become the next Braves’ signal-caller to compete collegiately – joining a lineage that includes Xavier Nix, Boo Jackson plus Iribarren’s head coach Andrew Jones.