Nichols was a four-year starter at Eastern Washington, where he compiled 996 completions on 1608 attempts (62%) for 12,616 yards, 96 touchdowns and 46 interceptions in 47 games (42 starts). Nichols' career passing yards are the most in Big Sky Conference history and ranks sixth overall in NCAA history. Nichols also holds the school record for touchdown passes with 96 and was named the 2007 and 2009 Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year. The Business Management major attended college with current Hamilton Tiger-Cat defensive end Greg Peach.
Nichols attended training camp with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and appeared in two pre-season games, recording 10 completions in 16 attempts for 81 yards and two interceptions. He was released on August 19.
Nichols was signed as a free agent by the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League on October 13, 2010. Nichols spent the next three games on the practice roster before being released on November 2. On February 4, 2011, he was resigned by Edmonton through the end of the 2012 season. In the playoffs of the 2012 CFL season Niclos sustained a devastating broken leg injury. He worked hard all off-season in order to be able to play for the 2013 CFL season. Entering the 2013 CFL season Nichols was in open competition with Mike Reilly for the starting quarterback job.  Nicols was awarded the start for the first preseason game on June 14 2013. However, he left the game early on after attempting to tackle a player after throwing an interception. The tests revealed that he had torn ACL and required surgery; this caused him to miss the entire 2013 CFL season. In the offseason Nichols was signed to a 2-year cotract extension through the 2015 CFL season.