Honors & Awards
» Nebraska Special Teams Player of the Year (2021)
» Academic All-Big Ten (2020)
» Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll (Fall 2022; Spring 2020, 2022, 2023)
» Brook Berringer Citizenship Team (2023)
» Tom Osborne Citizenship Team (2023)

2023 (Senior)
Phalen Sanford saw action in the secondary and on special teams in all 12 games as a senior with five starts at safety. He totaled a career-high 40 tackles and added two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a half tackle for loss.

Sanford recorded one tackle on punt coverage at Minnesota and one solo tackle on defense at Colorado. Sanford had three tackles against Northern Illinois and downed a punt at the 1-yard line. Sanford made two special teams tackles against Louisiana Tech, including a tackle on punt coverage that forced a fumble. Against No. 2 Michigan, Sanford recorded three tackles. He earned his first career start at Illinois and finished with a then-career-high six tackles with a forced fumble that led to a Husker takeaway. Sanford also started against Northwestern and made three tackles and broke up the first pass of his career. He tied his then-career high with six tackles against Purdue, with a three-yard half tackle for loss. Sanford started his fourth straight game at Michigan State and had three tackles and one pass breakup. He recorded three solo tackles at Wisconsin. In his final game against Iowa, Sanford recorded a career-high nine tackles.

2022 (Junior)
Sanford played in every game in 2022, seeing action on defense and special teams and finishing with 12 tackles and one blocked punt. He had two tackles against North Dakota and one tackle on kickoff coverage against Georgia Southern. Sanford had one tackle on defense against No. 6 Oklahoma. He played extensively in the secondary at Purdue, recording three tackles with his first career blocked punt. He made two tackles against No. 17 Illinois and had two stops at No. 3 Michigan. Sanford had one tackle on kickoff coverage at Iowa.

2021 (Sophomore)
Sanford played in every game during the 2021 season as a key member of Nebraska’s special teams. Following the year, he was named Nebraska’s Special Teams Player of the Year.

Sanford made the first tackle of his career with a stop on kickoff coverage at No. 20 Michigan State. He had a tackle on punt coverage against Purdue and also made a tackle on punt coverage against No. 17 Iowa.

2020 (Covid Season)
Sanford played on special teams in each of the final five games as a sophomore. He also continued to add depth in an experienced Husker secondary.

2019 (Redshirt Freshman)
Sanford did not play in a game in his first season at Nebraska after joining the Huskers as a walk-on transfer from Hastings College.

Before Nebraska (Dundy County-Stratton HS/Hastings College)
Sanford joined the Husker program as a walk-on  after spending his freshman year at Hastings College. Sanford redshirted as a member of the Bronco football team while recovering from shoulder surgery.

Sanford demonstrated his athletic ability by competing in numerous track and field events at Hastings, including the heptathlon. He won three event titles as a freshman and qualified for the NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships in the high jump, finishing 24th.

In high school, Sanford was a three-sport star for Dundy County-Stratton. On the gridiron, Sanford played eight-man football and was an honorable-mention all-state selection as a junior and a first-team pick as a senior. In the winter, Sanford starred on the basketball court, averaging nearly 16 points per game in his career, including 21.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game as a senior. He was a three-time all-state selection, including earning first-team accolades as a junior. In track and field, Sanford was a six-time state champion, winning titles in five different events. He closed his career in grand fashion, winning state titles in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, 400-meter dash and 1,600-meter relay. He set the Class C record in the 300-meter hurdles and contributed to all 40 points Dundy County-Stratton scored as a team in their third-place finish.

Phalen is the son of Brandon and Davina Sanford, and he was born on Dec. 9, 1999. He earned his bachelor's degree in child, youth and family studies in December of 2022. He has volunteered his time with the Nebraska Football Road Race, the Matt Talbot Kitchen, the Huskers’ Day of Service and local hospital visits.