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.
Banderas started nine contests in 2015, battling a groin injury that kept him on the sidelines early in the season. The linebacker rushed back early from his injury to get on the field against Miami. It likely extended the duration of the injury; Banderas missed multiple games after the matchup with the Hurricanes.
The former Army All-American was still fourth on the team in tackles, with 61 on the year. Banderas logged 39 tackles during a four game stretch of Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue and Michigan State after coming off of his injury.
At his current size, Banderas has a NFL body, but is still looking to put together a clean full season. The Lincoln native has appreciated the move to Mark Banker’s defensive scheme and should be even more comfortable in year two.
"We went through that transition period where it was new verbiage, new plays, that type of deal," Banderas told the Lincoln Journal Star. "But now we know it, we're in it. It's kind of our base stuff, so we can just build on it getting into the finer details ... instead of that broad, general 'maybe I'm in the right spot' kind of deal."
The Nebraska linebacker position was ravished with injuries in 2015, but should make the group better this fall because of it. We think the senior will lead the way. A 100-tackle season wouldn’t have been out of the question last year for Banderas if he hadn’t gotten hurt. The injury bug will be avoided this season.
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.