2000: Nickels, a one-time walk-on who received a scholarship in 2000, is a backup wide receiver as a senior in 2000. He is also an emergency punter.
PAUL HACKETT SAYS: ?One of the biggest surprises this past spring was the play of Matt. He?s a sure-handed receiver who runs great routes. He just makes play after play after play.?
1999: Nickels was a walk-on reserve wide receiver in 1999 as a junior. He appeared sparingly in 5 games in 1999 (Hawaii, San Diego State, California, Arizona State, Louisiana Tech), but did not catch a pass.
1998: Nickels was a student at USC in 1998, but did not play football.
DARTMOUTH: Nickels was a wide receiver at Dartmouth in 1996 and 1997, but did not see any action. The 1996 Big Green went 10-0 to win the Ivy League title (Dartmouth finished second in 1997 at 8-2).
HIGH SCHOOL: He was a 3-year (1993-95) starting wide receiver at Santa Margarita High in Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.). He also started at safety as a junior and senior. He won 1994 and 1995 All-South Orange County first team and All-Seaview League first team honors while catching 30-plus passes for 10-plus TDs each season. Current Trojans Carson Palmer, David Munoz and Spencer McCroskey also prepped at Santa Margarita. He also was on the basketball (forward) and track (high jump, relays) teams at Santa Margarita, and both squads won the CIF title in 1996.
PERSONAL: He is a sociology major at USC. He likes to play guitar.
MATT NICKELS ON:
His role: ?I definitely think I have a role. It?s as a blocking receiver and a possession receiver. I?m definitely not a breakaway receiver.?
Getting a scholarship: ?It?s a dream come true. It makes all the hard work worthwhile. But when you get down to it, I just want to be on the field, even if I didn?t get a scholarship.?