The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added rookie safety Matt O'Hanlon to their roster on Monday, claiming the former Nebraska star off waivers from the Carolina Panthers. O'Hanlon signed with Carolina in April as an undrafted free agent but was released last Thursday.
O'Hanlon will now have the opportunity to go to training camp with the Buccaneers, if he is one of the 80 men the team takes into camp in late July. Though he is a late addition to the team, O'Hanlon has experience in overcoming long odds on the football field.
O'Hanlon rose from walk-on status to starter at Nebraska, opening 23 games over his final two seasons and leading the Cornhuskers in interceptions in 2009 with six. He emerged from a field of roughly 60 walk-on candidates in a tryout in the winter of 2005 to earn his spot on the team.
During his four-year collegiate career O'Hanlon played in 51 games and contributed 132 tackles, two sacks, four tackles for loss, seven interceptions and 10 passes defensed. As a senior, he combined his half-dozen picks with 69 tackles (fifth on the team), two sacks and six passes defensed.
O'Hanlon concluded his Husker career in impressive fashion, earning Defensive MVP honors in Nebraska's shutout win over Arizona after notching an interception and five stops. He was an All-Big 12 honorable mention in 2009 by both the conference's coaches and the Associated Press.
The Buccaneers did not need to release a player in order to add O'Hanlon to the roster. On Friday, the team signed two of its 2010 draft picks while also trimming three from the roster, leaving one open spot.
O'Hanlon joined the Buccaneers in time to participate in practice on Monday morning. The team will conduct four practices on Monday and Tuesday as part of its three-day mini-camp.