Leighton Vander Esch (born February 8, 1996) is an American football middle linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Boise State.
Vander Esch, who is of Dutch descent, attended Salmon River High School in Riggins, Idaho, with a graduating class of 11 students. He practiced eight-man football, basketball and ran track.
In football, he played quarterback and middle linebacker. As a senior, he made 121 out of 199 attempts (60.8 percent) for 2,155 yards and 28 passing touchdowns and one interception. He also had 157 carries for 1,565 yards and 34 rushing touchdowns, 131 tackles (85 solo), 5 interceptions, 5 fumble recoveries and 4 defensive touchdowns. In the state's final 53-38 win against Lighthouse Christian School, he collected more than 500 yards of total offense and scored all 5 of his team's offensive touchdowns. He led his team to a 1A D2 State Championship and was named All-Idaho 1A Division II Player of the Year.