2003: The rangy, havoc-causing and vocal Nazel started for his second season at defensive end as a senior in 2003. However, he dislocated his right thumb at Notre Dame, had a cast put on it and played in USC's next 2 games, but when the injury wasn't healing properly, he had surgery and missed USC's next 3 games (Arizona, UCLA and Oregon State). He returned to play off the bench against Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Overall in 2003 while appearing in 10 games (he started all but 2 of those games, Washington and Michigan), he had 27 tackles, including 6.5 for losses of 33 yards (with 4 sacks for 30 yards), plus 2 fumble recoveries, an interception which he returned 16 yards for a touchdown (it was a point-blank pick against BYU) and a deflection. He had 5 tackles against BYU, California and Washington State, and 3 at Notre Dame. His fumble recoveries versus Auburn and Stanford set up a USC touchdown and field goal, respectively. He participated in the Hula Bowl.
2002: Nazel started all of 2002 at defensive end as a junior. Overall in 2002 while appearing in all 13 games, he had 38 tackles, including 10.5 for losses of 46 yards (with 6.5 sacks for 39 yards), plus an interception which he returned 15 yards, 7 deflections and a forced fumble. After the season, he had arthroscopic surgery to remove torn cartilage in his knee.
In his first career start, he had 6 stops and intercepted a pass (to set up a USC touchdown) against Auburn. He then had 4 stops at Colorado and 3 (1 for a loss) with a deflection at Kansas State. Against Oregon State, he had a team-best 7 tackles (4 for loss with 2 sacks) plus a deflection and forced fumble to earn Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors. He had 3 tackles at Washington State, 4 (with a sack) versus California, 3 (with a sack) against Washington, 1 at Oregon and 2 (with a sack) against Arizona State. He added 2 stops (1 for a loss) and a deflection at UCLA, then had a sack and deflection against Notre Dame. He had 3 tackles (1 for a loss) and 2 deflections against Iowa in the Orange Bowl.
2001: As a sophomore in 2001, Nazel saw significant action while backing up Lonnie Ford and then Kenechi Udeze at the defensive end spots. Overall in 2001 while appearing in all 12 games, he had 15 tackles, including 4 for losses of 15 yards (with 3 sacks for 14 yards), 1 deflection and 1 interception for 11 yards. He had 4 tackles at California (2 for losses, with a sack), 3 versus Stanford and 2 against San Jose State, Oregon State and UCLA. His interception came at Arizona and set up a USC touchdown.
2000: Nazel was a reserve defensive end as a redshirt freshman in 2000. He saw brief action in 5 games (San Jose State and then the final 4 contests against Arizona State, Washington State, UCLA and Notre Dame). He did not make a tackle in 2000.
1999: Nazel redshirted as a freshman in 1999, his first year at USC. He began the year as a linebacker, but was moved to defensive end. He was slowed by a mid-season concussion.
HIGH SCHOOL: He made the 1998 USA Today All-USA honorable mention, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-Western, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Las Vegas Sun Super 11 honorable mention, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, Oakland Tribune All-Oakland MVP and San Francisco Examiner All-Metro first team as a senior at Skyline High in Oakland (Calif.). In 1998, he made 86 tackles, 16 sacks, 2 interceptions (including 1 for a touchdown) and 1 block.
As a 1997 junior, he was picked to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Underclass second team while he had 63 tackles, 16 sacks, 10 tackles for losses, 4 fumble recoveries, 4 forced fumbles and 4 blocked punts.
He also played basketball at Skyline and was a 1998 Student Sports Grid-Hoops All-West selection.
PERSONAL: He's a social science/psychology major at USC. His sports hero is Michael Jordan.
OMAR NAZEL ON: His talkative nature: "I've just been insane from Day One. I was always the class clown. I always wanted to speak out and say my piece. I always have something to say, regardless. It's just in my nature?Someone has to speak up. I'm like a P.A. announcer. My voice echoes up and down the hallway. If something needs to be said and you need everyone to hear it, then I'll say it. I don't have any problems with bearing the burden of saying something wrong. I can deal with it."
His ability: "I think I have good vision for where the ball is going. Pass rushing is one of my strengths. I also am good at dropping in coverage. That is fun to me. It's the only part of playing linebacker that I miss. As far as my weaknesses, I need to get a lot quicker off the ball and I need to get a lot more physical."
His improvement: "During my freshman year, I didn't really know the effort that it took to be the quality of athlete that I wanted to be. So I asked myself what I was doing wrong. I realized that I wasn't necessarily eating right or getting the proper sleep. I didn't have football prioritized in my head daily. And I wasn't hitting the weights as hard as I should have. I wasn't putting my all into football. But I changed all that."