The 2018 first-round pick has been showing up at Salmon River High School before classes start in the morning to work out with the new equipment.

By Khadrice Rollins
February 26, 2019

Salmon River High School in Idaho got a major addition recently thanks to Cowboys rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.

As his first year in the NFL was wrapping up, Vander Esch wanted to help take care of the wretched weight room the students had been forced to literally help assemble in shop class, according to B.J. Rains of the Idaho Press.

So in December, as the Cowboys were making a push to the playoffs and Vander Esch was finishing up a Pro Bowl season, he finalized the project with Scott Wilde of Boise Fitness Equipment. They designed the new weight room and hand-picked what equipment would be added.

In the end, the project had a total value of about $70,000. Vander Esch footed the bill by putting up more than $45,000 in cash and also agreeing to a marketing deal with Boise Fitness Equipment to get a discount on the equipment and installation.

"I don't know that we had a bench in the whole place that didn’t have a hole in it," Salmon River football coach Ty Medley told the Idaho Press. "A lot of barbells were refurbished, some were falling apart. Training there for a while you kind of knew what was usable and how to use it and make it stay together, but in our shop class we did make squat racks. It was bare bones.

"I got to see the whole process, and to see the final product is just amazing. It's more than I ever would have seen us have in our weight room."

The No. 19 pick from the 2018 draft has also been making use of this new weight room while in the offseason, showing up to the school at 6 a.m. to get a workout in before classes start. He is also helping provide the basketball and football teams new uniforms for next season through his apparel deal with Nike.

In his first year out of Boise State, he set a Cowboys rookie record and finished third in the NFL with 140 tackles.

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