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Boise State numerical roster countdown 2015: Day 95, Leighton Vander Esch

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Walking on...

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

We've got 95 days until Boise State begins an epic journey of awesome, so let's change it up a little bit with a linebacker -- Leighton Vander Esch

#95, Leighton Vander Esch, RS Freshman, LB

Stats

Height: 6' 4"

Weight: 222 lbs

High School: Salmon River HS, Riggins, Idaho

How'd he get to the Blue™?

Stop me if you've heard this one before: an Idaho native who originally walked on the team, worked hard and impressed coaches, and was able to earn a scholarship to play for the team FOR REALSIES!! It seems to be a very winning formula. Vander Esch was a three sport athlete while in high school in football, basketball, and track & field. He was a star for Salmon River HS football (an 8-man league) AND basketball teams and leading both to state titles. While in high school he played both quarterback and linebacker for the Savages and was the only kid to sign with a Division I school in the Idaho District Three 8-man football classification. Impressive. Boise State offered an opportunity to play linebacker and some tight end and it seems as though linebacker is the way to go. Unfortunately Vander Esch did not have much by way of ratings, but he's a five star where it counts--hustle! He did get some other interest from the College of Idaho--an opportunity to play football and basketball (I have no doubt he would have excelled at both). He was also offered to sign at Idaho (though not clear if an actual scholarship was offered). No matter, the kid is an athlete and VERY used to winning. Kid did good.

Nickname

"Baby Giraffe"

This is one Andy Avalos gave him. Sorry Vander Esch, much like the Muscle Hamster before him, this one was given out of love and will stick with the fanbase.

Look-a-like

Low hanging fruit on this one.

Career Highlights

Vander Esch red shirted his first year with Boise State. While in his senior year of high school Vander Esch completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 2,155 yards and 28 touchdowns to only one interception. Carried the ball 157 times for 1,565 yards and 34 touchdowns. Defensively he had 131 tackles, 85 solo and five interceptions, five fumble recoveries and four defensive touchdowns. Also was the Idaho Sports 1AD2 Boys Student-Athlete of the Year. In short: the kid is a stud.

2015 Prospectus

The two glaring strengths of the Boise State defense is the line and the linebackers. With the first four already set (Weaver to Gray, Vallejo to Martarano) in the 4-2-5 defense finding time could be a...challenge. All four of those guys could possibly start for any other MWC team. But Vander Esch is an athlete who knows how to compete, and only took him a year to earn a scholarship. His added depth only makes it more reassuring that if any of the other four guys go down, "next man up" won't be a mystery. The bulk of playing time will probably be special teams.

Is he on Twitter?

Completely made up fact

Vander Esch created a fully self-contained Megalopolis in Sim City. The city was so sufficient that he actually had stopped playing four years ago and the city is still thriving to this day.