High School: Lincoln Southwest (NE)
In six starts spread across the season, Banderas recorded 50 tackles and one quarterback hurry. His best game of the year came against USC in the Holiday Bowl. With the assurance one mistake wasn’t going to put him on the sidelines, Banderas recorded 14 tackles against the Trojans.
While Banderas was forced into MIKE action, it’s very possible the former Lincoln prep could have played the BUCK linebacker spot if Michael Rose had not gotten hurt during fall camp.
The sophomore started the year in the middle, but was eventually benched after a few missed tackles in favor of senior Trevor Roach. It was the second straight year where Banderas got the early yank. One’s confidence can’t be very high when he’s worried about getting pulled as quickly as it happened.
To the casual observer, it looked like the former high school All- American was playing to not make a mistake, instead of to make a play.
After a solid spring, Banderas says the pressure has been taken off and he can just play and have fun.
“I didn’t have the best start in the world, but I think this defense is a chance for me to get going and have a new start. We went from a dictionary to a preschool book. It’s easier to play in.
The hesitation was something his position coach Trent Bray saw as well he mentioned in the spring.
“Watching him on film last year, he wasn’t quite sure of going and getting things,” said Bray. “Hey go play, don’t worry about making a mistake. If you make it, we will correct it, but I want to see you play fast. He’s really taken to it.”
BRR projection: The Nebraska linebackers have looked faster this spring, swarming to the football. Locked into the MIKE spot, it appears Banderas is the coaching staff’s guy, no matter what. We think it will give the junior quite a bit of confidence going forward. Look for him to play at the four-star level he was graded at in high school. We think fans are going to be pleasantly surprised on how much different the Lincoln native looks. Don’t be surprised if Banderas is pushing for a spot on the Big Ten All-Conference team in late November.
How he ended up in Lincoln:
A legacy recruit, Josh’s father is Tom Banderas, a former tight end in the ‘80s who recorded 10 career touchdowns.
Rated the nation’s No. 251 player by Scout.com coming out of high school, it was never really a question if Banderas would commit to Nebraska, but when?
Banderas was an Army All-American and committed to Nebraska in April of 2012.