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May 23, 2012
Dallas Jackson is the National High School Sports Analyst for Rivals. Email him your questions and comments at DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
When Josh Banderas decides to participate in events during the summer camp circuit it comes with immediate doubt of his fellow competitors.
"Everyone out there tries to hype themselves," he said. "Everyone says they have a USC offer and I usually just subtract like five offers from whatever number they say.
"A lot of guys want to boost themselves I guess, but I just figure a lot of people are lying."
The outside linebacker from Lincoln (Neb.) Lincoln Southwest knows that coming to the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge will be different and that he will not have to adjust his expectations of who is on the field with him.
"There will not be any underestimating guys out there," he said. "These guys are the best and don't need to brag; I don't think many of us will be talking about how many offers we have since we all know this is the best group of guys."
The invitation-only event will take place from June 22-24 at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta. The inaugural group of players will be made up of 80 members from the class of 2013 and 20 from the class of 2014.
Banderas, a Nebraska commit, thinks that he is in for a lot of fun as well as competition.
"This is a big-time showcase so I am really excited," he said. "It is the biggest and fastest and best. I am hoping to hang out and talk to a bunch of guys."
The bond-building part of this type of event is big for Banderas.
"There are not a ton of D-I guys in Nebraska," he said. "So at the pre-combine dinners and rooming with guys it is cool to talk and share the experience with.
"Usually I will meet a couple guys and try to go against them and make it a friendly rivalry, too. You can do it before the camp or during when you see who is yapping and get with him that makes it fun."
One of the players that Banderas said he is going to search out is Eddie Vanderdoes from Placer (Calif.) High.
While both will be on defense, and in different position groups, Banderas wants to befriend the defensive lineman.
"I think he would be a great fit at Nebraska so I am going to try to talk to him and recruit him a little," Banderas said. "I will be working some other guys too but that is a kid that I want on my team."
Spreading the word of Nebraska football has been the charge of Banderas since committing in April.
"A lot of people do not know about how powerful Nebraska football was," he said. "Once I start talking about tradition and where we are going I think it gets the awareness out there. We are trying to bring back the Old Husker power."
Getting the story of Nebraska circulating will be a major task for Banderas at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge but those are only words and he will have to back it up with action.
"These are all D-I kids," he said. "If you want them to come play with you they have to want to play with you; that means more than being friends, it means being a good player.
"I will try to do my best and just beat one guy at a time."
Mike Farrell's take
Banderas did very well at the U.S. Army Combine in San Antonio last January and his stock has continued to rise. A hard-nosed linebacker with an old-school approach, he will take this event very seriously and he will compete from the start to be the best individually as well as for his team. The big question is, how athletic is he and how well can he cover in space? He'll find that out very quickly.