Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to work we go. With only 38 days left to go until we can finally breathe again we have Leighton Vander Esch to profile.
#38, Leighton Vander Esch, RS Sophomore, LB
Height: 6’ 4”
Weight: 236 lbs (+14)
High School: Salmon River HS, Riggins, Idaho
How'd he get to the Blue™?
Traveling the road that some fan-favorite Broncos have also endured. Walking on to the team to eventually earn a scholarship. And, boy howdy, that is a thing that seems to work for the local kids.
Mr. Vander Esch was a stud three sport athlete while in high school excelling in football, basketball, and track & field. In high school he helped the Salmon River HS net state titles in both football and basketball. That impressive run in high school led him to be the only kid in the Idaho District Three 8-man football classification to sign with a Division I school, despite the walk-on status. Heck, he was even IdahoSports.com’s 2014 student-athlete of the year!
He did not get much love in the athlete ratings department, nor the “come play for our school” section as College of Idaho offered to let him play both football and basketball and he garnered some interest from the University of Idaho (ewww).
But all is well that ends well and we have another future fan favorite local kid donning the blue and orange!
As long as I am writing Mr. Vander Esch’s profile I will never NOT use these two jokes. I mean no disrespect for Vander Esch as I assume he could beat me up and take my lunch money quite handily. But this is just too good to pass up.
The career highlights for Vander Esch, I have a feeling, are yet to come. But, as it stands, he does have some good things to talk about as a redshirt sophomore.
He played in 12 games as a RS freshman. He had 20 tackles, 14 of which were of the solo variety, and one a sack. He converted a fake punt for a 12 yard gain and a first down. He also had a fumble recovery.
Vander Esch’s highlights will not stop there. I can just feel it! (And so will opposing offenses.)
Ah the linebackers. An embarrassment of riches for the Broncos this year. It is going to be nice to see the rotation and seeing Vander Esch get some quality time out on the field with no drop in performance.
Now that the season is getting a little closer, we now get a little more insight as to what is going to happen in the upcoming season. The Broncos are switching to the 4-3 defense and “eliminating” the nickel. And a look at the Boise State roster has Vander Esch as a “will” linebacker. We even know that he has the second slot locked up.
So what to expect from the local product? Weaver has a legitimate chance of getting a first team all-Mountain West Conference defensive selection despite being left off the pre-season pick. Vander Esch has to follow that. And he should be just fine. Playing that outside backer will allow him to use his height and athleticism to get where he needs to go, and with a quickness. Vander Esch will be a more than capable substitute in a pinch. He will also do increase his stats from last year. Bank it!
Is he on Twitter?
Yeah. He is. You can find him here. But he’s not really active as his last Tweet was actually just a retweet of the Boise State football account. So technically yes, but functionally no.
Completely made up fact
Everyone knows that hippos’ sweat turns red when they are mad. In the case of Vander Esch, his opponents will just start sweating blood in order to garner sympathy from Vander Esch so he does not pummel them.