After the 2018 NFL Draft, American football outfielder Leighton Vander Esch joined the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. Before going pro, he had a highly successful college career on the Boise State Broncos soccer team, culminating in his red-headed junior season with the award of Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. But that was only the beginning of his many heroic deeds.
Leighton Vander Esch Bio, Ethnicity & Age
Leighton Vander Esch was born on February 9, 1997, in Riggins, Idaho, to German parents Sandy and Darwin Vander Esch. He completed his high school education at Salmon River High in Riggins, Idaho, where he gained experience in three sports: soccer, basketball, and athletics.
As something of an all-around star, Vander Esch helped his high school basketball team win two consecutive 1A D2 State Championship titles as a junior and senior. He also helped the school’s soccer team win two eight-man state championships and the 1A D2 state championship. As a quarterback and in a hybrid safety/linebacker role, the talented youngster played 121 of 199 tries over 2,155 yards, 28 pass touchdowns, and one interception in his senior year. He also had 157 carries over 1,565 yards and 34 hurried touchdowns, 131 tackles (85 solo), 5 interceptions, 5 fumble recovery, and 4 defensive touchdowns.
Leighton Vander Esch’s impressive performance caught the attention of the Boise State University football coaching staff. In addition to his successes on the field, he was also the valedictorian for his 2011 graduating class, but despite his impressive high school football statistics, the young man did not receive any football scholarships. He was accepted at Boise State University as a preferred errand boy, and after completing a Redshirting in his first season, he received a scholarship in his second year of college.
Leighton Vander Esch played as a linebacker for the Boise State Broncos soccer team and was seen in the red jersey in 12 games in his rookie season, scoring 20 tackles (14 solo), one sack, a fumble recovery, and the first down on a fake punt. Due to a neck injury, Vander Esch played only 6 games in his second season in which he scored 27 tackles (23 solo), 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and one interception.
As a Weakside-Linebacker Vander Esch switched to a starting position in all 14 games of his junior season, which is considered his breakout season. He finished the season with 141 tackles, 14.5 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, and a team-best with 4 forced fumbles. His outstanding performances earned him the award “Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year” and the election as First Team All-Mountain West. He was also named MVP of the 2017 Mountain West Conference Championship game in which the Broncos defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs. He also gave an equally outstanding performance in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl, where the Broncos defeated the Oregon Ducks.
On December 19, 2018, Leighton Vander Esch announced his decision to enter the 2018 NFL Draft, relinquishing his last year of college football eligibility. It is expected that the talented linebacker was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round as the 19th overall draft candidate.
Family – Parents
Leighton Vander Esch grew up with 4 older siblings; a brother named Jason and sisters Shannon, Christon, and Morgan. His father Darwin Vander Esch runs a large professional hunting business. In 1995 he founded Heaven’s Gate Outfitters in Idaho and after a few years, he sold the company. He currently operates JD’s Kniktuk Outfitters in Dillingham, Alaska.
Leighton Vander Esch must have inherited the sports genes from his mother, who was a well-known basketball player in her prime. His brother Jason also played soccer in high school. All his sisters were basketball stars in high school and also played in college. Thanks to his family of sports enthusiasts, Vander Esch enjoyed a strong support system in the emerging stages of his football career. In September 2016, his father Darwin purchased a Disney Land Bus to transport up to 30 of his close family and friends to all of his boy wonder’s street games.
Leighton Vander Esch Height and Other Body Stats
Leighton Vander Esch stands at an impressive height of 193 cm (6 feet 4 inches). With a bodyweight of 116 (256 lbs), the talented linebacker undoubtedly has a gigantic physique. Vander Esch, however, is characterized by his fluid, striding movements, which makes him very athletic for a player of his size.