Leighton Vander Esch, a graduate of Salmon River High School and former Boise State University football standout, capped his rookie season off by playing in the Pro Bowl Sunday, Jan. 27. Vander Esch, the 6’4” linebacker who was the 19th pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, led the Dallas Cowboys' defense in tackles in his rookie season.
Capitalizing on his new fame, he also recently launched The Official Store of Leighton Vander Esch, which features the LVE Wolf Hunter apparel collection.
One of the leading indicators of who might be named NFL Rookie of the Year is the league’s list of rookies of the month — to which Salmon River alum Leighton Vander Esch was named for his play in November.
Salmon River High School alum and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch booked his second career interception one week after having booked his first — the first time in five seasons a Cowboys linebacker has made interceptions in consecutive weeks.
Dallas Cowboys rookie and Salmon River High alum Leighton Vander Esch saw fewer snaps last Sunday than he had during the injury absence of stalwart linebacker Sean Lee. Vander Esch finished with four tackles and Washington prevailed 20-17.
On a first-and-15 following a false start penalty with 7:07 left in the second quarter of Sunday’s Cowboys-Panthers NFL game, Salmon River High School alum Leighton Vander Esch booked his first official tackle, bringing down Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey after a seven yard gain. The series went three-and-out, but Carolina went on to win by 16-8 final score.
Before he went to Boise State, before he went on to be picked No. 19 overall in the NFL draft, Leighton Vander Esch was better-known for basketball than football, judging by the number of people who recalled his slam dunks for Salmon River High School among their favorite memories Thursday night, April 26.
On his broad shoulders, he carried his home town's highest hopes to Texas, and when he became the 19th pick in the 2018 NFL draft, Leighton Vander Esch's home town was there to lift him up.
During the months since Leighton Vander Esch declared for the NFL entry draft, his chance to ascend from Salmon River High School and Boise State University to football’s top professional level has become a conversation starter in Idaho County — and not just among local football fans.
Salmon River High School alum Leighton Vander Esch became the third Boise State player to earn one of the Mountain West Conference's main football awards.