Receiver Nick Pasquale dies in car accident

UCLA wide receiver Nick Pasquale died early Sunday morning after being hit by a vehicle in San Clemente. He was 20 years old.

According to a press release from the Orange County Coroner’s office, Pasquale was struck by a car at approximately 1:27 a.m. He was walking near the intersection of Camino De Los Mares and Calle Nuevo, a residential area.

An investigation is ongoing, but the driver remained on scene and no arrests were made. A spokesperson for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said two cars were driving in tandem, and only one was able to avoid hitting Pasquale. There is no suspicion of alcohol or drug use in the driver at this point in the investigation.

“This is a tragic loss,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said in a statement. “Nick was an outstanding young man who had a positive impact on everyone who knew him. He was a great teammate who was loved and respected by his entire team. Our thoughts are with the Pasquale family.”

The Orange County Register first reported the news.

Pasquale had not yet played in a game for the Bruins made his career debut in UCLA’s 58-20 blowout of Nevada on Aug. 31. The redshirt freshman practiced with the Bruins’ scout team after an all-county career at San Clemente High, starting both ways as a cornerback and receiver his junior and senior seasons. He was a member of the 2011 squad that finished as the CIF Pac-5 runner-up.

“He was a stud,” said Tritons coach Jaime Ortiz. “He was a hard-nosed kid who gave you everything he had. … He was the heart and soul of our team during that time.”

Ortiz, who was the defensive coordinator when Pasquale played there, heard the news at around 7 a.m. from another parent. He had last seen Pasquale on Friday night, when the player visited campus to watch his alma mater beat Cabrillo, 35-32.

Pasquale made it a point to visit his school often, and was wearing UCLA colors during the game. Ortiz hugged him afterward and wished him good luck.

The Pasquale family has a long history in San Clemente. Nick’s older brother, A.J., also played at the school. Their father, Mel, is the director of football operations, and their grandfather, Fred, was a former vice principal.

The school will hold a vigil for Pasquale tonight at 7 p.m.