Nebraska has awarded a scholarship to a local standout who joined the team as a walk-on.

Head coach Matt Rhule announced that defensive back Phalen Sanford has been put on scholarship ahead of the 2023 season.

Sanford attended Dundy County-Stratton High School in Benkelman. The Nebraska native originally attended Hastings College before walking on at Nebraska for the 2019 season.

Sanford sparingly saw playing time in 2019 and 2020, but became a key special-teamer in 2021. The defensive back was named Special Teams Player of the Year for Nebraska after the 2021 season. In 2022, Sanford continued to contribute on special teams and notably blocked a punt against Purdue.

Now a player on scholarship, Sanford will look to back up Marques Buford Jr. at free safety while still being a vital special teamer.