“This kid is put together. Nebraska fans should be fired up about him. He's the throwback, downhill, Big Ten style mean linebacker. He brings a swagger to the defensive side of the football and really will punish Big Ten running backs.”
6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Lincoln Southwest High School
Greg Powers, National Recruiting Analyst for FOX Sports NEXT
Senior Honors: Army All-American game participant, Lincoln Journal Star Super All-State Team
Senior Stats: 119 tackles, 11 TFLs, 2 INTs / 189 rushing attempts for 1,237 yards and 18 touchdowns
The Lowdown: It was never a question if Josh Banderas would commit to Nebraska, but when. The son of former Husker tight end Tom Banderas, Josh decided to take things slow and really get a chance to look at other places before pulling the trigger on a commitment.
“He's grown up in Lincoln. His dad went to Nebraska. He felt like before he committed he wanted to at least get out and get a chance to look,” said Lincoln Southwest head coach Mark King. “All in all he felt it was the best place for him. The coaching staff did a nice job not putting pressure on him. I don't know how much pressure he felt during the process.”
Once committed shortly before the 2012 spring game, Banderas became one of the 2013 classes' lead recruiters. When prospects were on campus, the four-star linebacker was there with them, showing them around and chattering in their ear about becoming a Husker.
“This class is my baby. I'm excited to be able to play with guys who became my friends during the process,” said Banderas. “Helping out the class and bringing everyone here, it really means a lot to me.”
His senior season was nothing but special. King challenged Banderas to have enough stamina to play both ways during the summer months leading up to the Silver Hawks' first contest. Banderas responded to the challenge, becoming the squads workhorse on offense, while not sacrificing much on the defensive side of the football. Injuries piled up for the 2013 prospect, but he battled through them the best he could and put up big time stats on both sides of the football.
For his efforts during his junior and senior year, Banderas was named an Army All-American, the first time a Nebraska player has played in the game since Baker Steinkuhler in January of 2008.
“To be able to go down to the Army game, it's a huge honor,” said Banderas during his selection ceremony. “I feel like I have to go out and do my best, being better prepared then everyone else to show what Nebraska has to offer.”
If there was a perfect time for a young linebacker to get an early opportunity to play at Nebraska, Banderas might be hitting it.
“It's wide open. Most of the linebackers with experience are gone. I know that if I get my nose in the playbook, learn it, study it, and take it to the field, there is a chance I could even start next year,” said Banderas, who will also pride himself on making an impact on special teams.
Why Nebraska: “My friends get on me about why I didn't take a visit to Oregon or take an official to somewhere, but being the first commit, I'm the base and that means a lot. You have to have a foundation and I'm glad that I started it.”
Who Else: Oregon, Kansas State, Iowa, Iowa State and Vanderbilt
Who Recruited Him: Ross Els
BRR Projection: Banderas has the frame to put on additional weight to figure into the MIKE spot and has the athleticism to play the WILL, but BRR thinks that he would be a physical upgrade to the BUCK spot and he can play in space.