Many thought this day would come, but many in Bronco Nation were hoping that junior Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch would return for his final season as a Bronco.
Thursday morning, Vander Esch took to Twitter to thank Bronco fans and to announce his intentions to declare for the NFL Draft.
“It has been the honor of my life to play for the team I always grew up following. I would have given anything to have had this opportunity but to have had it, and to have played a role in continuing the legacy and tradition of Boise State football alongside coaches and players that I will consider brothers for the rest of my life – this was something more than I could have ever dreamed. This has been the best experience I ever could have asked for.
Everything this program is about is in my blood and it will be forever. Because my love for Boise State runs so deep, this was the most difficult decision of my life. I feel now is the best time for me to pursue another childhood dream – playing in the Nation Football League – something Boise State University, my coaches, my teammates, my family and my friends have put me in the position to do.
Idaho will always be my home, and I will be a Bronco until the day I die. I especially want to thank Coach Harsin and Coach Avalos for giving me the opportunity to be part of this team, and for allowing me a chance to chase and fulfill something that no one expects out of someone from small town Idaho. Bronco Nation really has something special in those two coaches.
Thank you to my teammates. Thank you for the Boise State administration. Thank you to Bronco Nation and to anyone that has turned on the TV and rooted for the Broncos – we play for each and every one of you every week, and you have no idea how much your support means to the guys in our locker room.
Forever, Go Broncos!”
Forever and always a BRONCO!!🔶🔷 pic.twitter.com/mbtTa8aAfJ
— Leighton Vander Esch (@VanderEsch38) December 21, 2017
In his last game as a Bronco, Vander Esch had a total of 12 tackles, 10 of those were solo and a sack. He was all over the field.