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At the recent annual Lincoln Downtown Athletic Club Awards Luncheon, Husker fans had a rare top-floor Nebraska Club view. In the background were Pinnacle Bank Arena, Memorial Stadium and Hawks Field and in the foreground were two Lincoln incoming freshmen student-athletes who were smiling and putting their arms around each other. Nebraska football recruit Josh Banderas won the 2013 John P. Perkins Memorial Scholarship Award, but there was also high praise for a high school classmate and a Husker walk-on wrestler who shared the runner-up honors.
It was fun watching the humility that Banderas showed and the way he acknowledged the talents of the other two. It made you understand how and why Banderas, son of former Husker tight end Tom Banderas (1985-86-87), was so successful in his ability to help recruit so many others in Nebraska’s 2013 recruiting class. Check out Banderas on YouTube or take a peek at @bandothemando on Twitter. You’ll see why he’s one young man coaches don’t worry about when he jumps on social media.
Make no mistake. When Banderas signed his National Letter of Intent last February, it may have been Nebraska’s most significant signature, simply because he was a catalyst for so many others to follow suit. The N-Sider believes Big Red fans should know a little more about this “legacy recruit” and why, as the only in-state player in Nebraska’s 2013 class, he had such an influence on the out-of-staters. Please join our quick hitting Q&A with ‘Bando the Mando’:
Q: Have you always been a major player in social media?
A: Not really. I’ve used it to connect with other recruits and try to get them to come here more than anything.
Q: What’s the biggest reason you decided to become a Husker?
A: Nebraska is the best school in the country. It’s my team!
Q: You played in the Army All-American Game in San Antonio and had scholarship offers from Oregon, Kansas State and Iowa, among others. Where else did you actually visit?
A: Vanderbilt and Iowa State
Q: Who were your primary recruiters?
A: Coach (Barney) Cotton & Coach (Ross) Els. I loved it because they’re both so easy to talk to
Q: Who else influenced your decision?
A: Coach Bo (Pelini) and JP (John Papuchis)
Q: If you could describe Coach Pelini in two words, what would they be?
A: Straight shooter
Q: Besides football, you’ve won the 110-meter hurdles at the state track meet and lettered in bowling. What’s your most memorable high school moment?
A: My 95-yard Pick 6 (interception return based on a zone read against Lincoln East).
Q: Do you have a role model?
A: My dad … he’s done all of it and had success. Now it’s my turn.
Q: You’re a big Husker fan, too. What’s your favorite memory from the stands?
A: The Ohio State game – the biggest comeback in school history.
Q: Speaking of fans. What about Big Red fans selling out their stadium for 50 straight years?
A: They’re the best ever!!
Q: Give me a junior recruiter’s take on Nebraska’s relentless focus on academics?
A: They want to prepare us for life, not just football.
Q: What did you tell your fellow recruits about Nebraska’s strength program?
A: That we were the first strength program in the country, and we’re still the best in the country.
Q: What kind of a movie does an aspiring linebacker like?
A: Dark Night because of the action and because it’s Batman.
Q: How about your favorite singer?
Q: Favorite comedian?
A: Kevin Hart.
Q: Favorite NFL team?
A: The Chiefs because they’re close, and I’ve been able to go to some of their games in Kansas City.
Q: Best advice you’ve ever received?
A: Try harder than everyone else.
Q: Who told you that?
A: My dad.
Q: Ever meet Tom Osborne, your dad’s coach?
A: Yes, a few times, and I think it’s cool that someone like him will take the time to stop and talk to me.
Q: What can you say about his legacy?
A: He’s a big reason why we are the best school in the country.
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