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It was never a question if Josh Banderas would commit to Nebraska, but when. The nation’s No. 27 outside linebacker pulled the trigger in early April, visiting a few other schools across the country.
The son of former Husker tight end Tom Banderas, Josh recorded 124 tackles and six sacks during his junior year in 2011, also registering three interceptions and five forced fumbles. His efforts helped him land a spot on the Lincoln Journal Star’s super all-state team and even more importantly, an Army All-American invite. Banderas will be the first representative in the game since current Husker defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler made his way to San Antonio in 2008.
"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 at other places," 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. I think he actually had more relief when he got the Nebraska offer than pressure. It was nice to finally have it."
King has plenty of experience coaching Division I talent including players like: Tay Bender, both Steinkuhler brothers, and Austin Cassidy. He knows what a college prospect looks like and Banderas is that player.
"Great players have those intangibles that no matter how hard they are worked, it just doesn't matter," said Lincoln Southwest Mark King. "Some of them have just been touched on the shoulder by God. They have size, fantastic speed, and whatever it may be. Josh's got all those things. I think that's what makes him have a great chance to be really good. He's got great football intelligence and is a leader as well.
"What he does from here on out is up to him, but he's got some physical attributes that makes him look like he's going to be a good college football player."
It’s the hope of the Lincoln Southwest coaching staff that the senior will be able to play both ways in 2012, after limited work on offense in 2011.
"He's got to get to a point where he's not letting fatigue become a factor in the game," said King. "In high school football, a lot of the time it's an endurance contest. Your great players have to be on the field at all-times. I think that is something Josh has to concentrate on this fall."
Other schools that recruited Banderas: Alabama, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, LSU, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, and Vanderbilt.