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Where does Jacob Nunez rank among area's best of past decade?
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The Other Guys

Where does Jacob Nunez rank among area's best of past decade?

Earlier this year, the Santa Maria Times and Lompoc Record held a contest to find the Player of the Decade in high school football, much like the one we are currently holding for girls basketball.

We talked about players with eye-popping offensive and defensive statistics and players with MVP awards and various Division I college offers. 

But there was something missing. Or, more specifically, a player missing. 

Who would that be? Jacob Nunez. 

Nunez didn't put up any gaudy stats at Lompoc High. Heck, he rarely touched the ball.

But, even among the MVP-level players highlighted during the Player of the Decade contest, Nunez's dominance stands out prominently. 

Pretty much from the time he stepped foot on the Lompoc High campus as a freshman, Nunez became the area's top offensive lineman. (He was also one of the area's top heavyweight wrestlers and probably would've won shot put and discus titles if he wanted to).

Nunez did pile up the accolades, like All-Area Offensive Lineman of the Year and Channel League Lineman of the Year. He did rack up a bunch of Division I offers, eventually settling on Arizona State, where he's a 6-foot-3, 315 pound freshman set to wear No. 55 for the Sun Devils. 

Nunez simply dominated local competition at his tackle spot on the LHS offensive line and he didn't wait until his senior season to do so. He was a road grater from day one. 

Though he lined up at tackle for the Braves, he was used heavily as a pulling lineman that showed off his agility and athleticism to create open space for runners. Nunez played with great speed and ability, combining the movement skills of a tight end with elite-level strength. 

Nunez could pull, run 10 yards to his right and clean up a defensive lineman in seconds, with barely breaking a sweat. He could also pass block when asked to, although Lompoc's offensive really wasn't built around traditional pass plays.

Though Nunez didn't take long to dominate, he did grow as his career went on at Lompoc. He developed into a confident, aggressive player that played through the whistle and seemed to enjoy not only blocking players, but driving them 10 or 15 yards down field. It seems once Nunez realized his power and ability, his play took off, particularly in his junior and senior seasons. 

Once Nunez figured out he was likely biggest and strongest guy on the field, he would not be stopped. 

Nunez has good size and length and could probably fill in at tackle, but it looks like he fits in best as a guard at the Division I level. 

So why wasn't Nunez included in the Player of the Decade contest? Well, of course, linemen are always overlooked.

I think another part of it was Nunez made it look so easy and effortless. It almost wasn't fair how much bigger, stronger and faster he was than anyone he lined up against. It was really taken for granted how easily and consistently he overmatched opponents. It was expected. So that probably dinged him a bit, not that it bothers Nunez, who is now focused on making an impact in the Pac-12.


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