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Lompoc's Jacob Nunez, and cousin Ryan Morgan, both Arizona State signees, train while school's out
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Lompoc's Jacob Nunez, and cousin Ryan Morgan, both Arizona State signees, train while school's out

He is at home in Lompoc taking an online Arizona State summer class now. Former Lompoc High School football standout Jacob Nunez hopes to be on the ASU campus, and working out with the football team there, soon.

ASU and other campuses across the nation have strictly online curriculum for the time being because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arizona State is one of five Pac-12 schools eyeing a return to in-person classes for the 2020 fall semester.

As far as when summer football workouts might begin there, “There’s really no set date yet,” Nunez said.

Nipomo's Nick Kimball is the seventh Player of the Decade nominee. The rest of the Player of the Decade nominees, from Northern Santa Barbara and South San Luis Obispo counties, will be released in the coming weeks. He joins the previous nominees, Arroyo Grande grads Bradley Mickey and Seth Jacobs, former Lompoc High standouts Lavon Coleman and Ainuu Taua, former Santa Maria quarterback Blake Truhitte and former Santa Ynez receiver Gabe Prendergast.

Once all the nominees have been announced, readers will have the opportunity to vote for Player of the Decade.

“I’m hoping to get back on campus in early or mid-June. They’re hoping to start workouts in early July.”

Tight end Ryan Morgan, a teammate of Nunez's at Lompoc and his cousin, signed earlier this year to play football for Arizona State.

Like Nunez, Morgan was a four-year varsity player at Lompoc and was a part of three league championship teams. In 2019, Morgan led the Braves in receptions (41), reception yardage (680) and touchdown receptions (six).  

The NCAA Division 1 Council voted May 20 to allow athletes in football, and men's and women's basketball to resume voluntary on-campus workouts June 1. 

Nunez said, “My understanding is, as an out-of-state student, I’ll be tested (for COVID-19) upon arrival. If I test positive, I’ll have to self quarantine for two weeks.”

As the left tackle for the Lompoc offense, Nunez was among the most dominant linemen on the Central Coast.

A four-year varsity player, Nunez was the 2019 All-Area Offensive Lineman of the Year.

He graduated early from Lompoc, in December of 2019, then enrolled at Arizona State for the 2020 spring semester.

Nunez was in the midst of taking in-person classes there before ASU sent its students home because of the pandemic.

He finished up the spring semester online at home in Lompoc. Though he said he’s looking forward to returning to campus, and lecture halls, “I’m used to online learning now,” said Nunez.

“It’s worked out well. I’ve found online learning to be enjoyable.” Nunez is currently majoring in plant science.

He said it’s up in the air as far as to whether he will be on the ASU team as a freshman or will redshirt that season.

“I will probably be a center or a guard there.”

With team workouts cancelled because of the pandemic, Nunez said solo workouts have been going fine.

The ASU coaching staff “sent us one set of workouts to do if we have a weight room available, and one if we don’t.

“I work out some in a friend’s weight room,” said Nunez. “I work out every day of the week except Sunday.”

Player of the Decade: We're looking for the top player of the last 10 seasons

The sports staff at the Santa Maria Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News is looking for the top football player from Northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County over the last 10 seasons of high school ball.

See who our nominees are thus far.

Senior Spotlight Series: Celebrating the area's top senior student-athletes

Our 'Senior Spotlight' series is aimed at highlighting senior student-athletes who have had their final year of high school disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. The athletes featured here were their school's nominee for Athlete of the Year or Student Athlete of the Year for the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table's end-of-year banquet that has been canceled due to the outbreak.

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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.

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