Vander Esch Is Living The Dream

Former Salmon River star quarterback and linebacker Leighton Vander Esch had a special surprise last spring when he met with Boise State head football coach Bryan Harsin.

Bronco freshman Leighton Vander Esch may not have seen it coming, but his teammates did. 

In  a player evaluation meeting at the end of spring ball, Vander Esch told Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin of his plans to work over the summer as a river guide in Riggins, Idaho to help pay his tuition.  Harsin listened to the young walk-on from Salmon River High School, then told him that from that point forward, Vander Esch had a scholarship.  When Leighton exited Harsin's office, he was met by the other Bronco linebackers who gave him hugs and congratulations.

The change in status is the result of hard work, not only on the field but in the weight room.  When he arrived on campus, Vander Esch was a 6-foot-4, 200-pound former quarterback and linebacker at Salmon River.  He has gained about 30 pounds in a year's time, and is beginning to assist the younger linebackers, just as he has been mentored by the likes of Tanner Vallejo and Ben Weaver.

Vander Esch is expected to see the field this fall on special teams, where he will be playing on the Blue field he saw growing up, on the team he was inspired to play for.  "My whole life, I've wanted to play college football at Boise State," he said.

Vander Esch and the Broncos host the University of Washington September 4 in Albertsons Stadium.  You might just see #38 on the opening kickoff.


 The Blue and Orange Store has been covering Boise State sports since 2002. You can keep up to date on the latest Boise State news by following publisher Kevin Hiatt @Kevin_Hiatt, and lead reporter Chase Glorfield @ChaseGlorfield on twitter, by liking and following our Facebook page at BoiseStateBroncosOnScout, and by keeping your browser on the BroncoCountry website and message board. If you're a recruit who wants to create, or update a profile, or if you just have Boise State recruiting information to share, email Kevin and Chase at

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