Dec. 15, 2017
BOISE, Idaho - Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and STUD Curtis Weaver were named to the Phil Steele All-America Fourth Team Friday.
The announcement marks the third All-America honor this month for Weaver. The Bronco redshirt freshman was named an All-America honorable mention by SB Nation on Dec. 7, and to the USA TODAY Freshman All-America Team this past Tuesday It is the first All-America honor of Vander Esch's career.
Weaver, the first freshman in conference history to be named to the All-Mountain West's First Team for defense, made his case as one of Boise State's breakout stars of 2017, constantly harassing opposing quarterbacks and offensive lines. The redshirt freshman, through 13 games, leads the Mountain West, and all FBS freshmen, with 9.0 sacks (tied for 21st in the country) and paces the Broncos with 11.0 tackles-for-loss.
Along with being a key part of Boise State's 23rd-ranked defense and 20th-ranked rush defense, Weaver has made his impact in the turnover game, picking off a pass against Nevada (Nov. 4), and being named a Piesman Trophy finalist for his 55-yard fumble return for a touchdown at Washington State (Sept. 9).
He played a key role in helping Boise State capture it's third Mountain West title, recording a sack in the Broncos' 17-14 victory over No. 25 Fresno State on Dec. 2.
Vander Esch has put together one of the top all-around defensive campaigns in recent Bronco history in 2017. Heading into this Saturday's Las Vegas Bowl, Vander Esch leads the team in tackles (129), has intercepted three passes, forced three fumbles, recorded 3.0 sacks and 5.5 tackles-for-loss. He leads a defense that ranks 23rd in the country with 336.7 yards allowed per game, and 20th against the run, allowing just 125.8 rushing yards per game. Individually, Vander Esch ranks 16th in the FBS, and third in the Mountain West, with 9.9 tackles per game, as well as seventh in the country (and second in the conference) with 6.2 solo tackles per game.
The Riggins, Idaho native became the first Bronco to be named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year on Nov. 29, and backed it up with being named the Defensive MVP of the Mountain West Championship Game. In Boise State's 17-14 victory over No. 25 Fresno State, Vander Esch matched the game record with 16 tackles, and sealed the Bronco victory with an interception with just under two minutes remaining.
No. 25 Boise State (10-3) will take on Oregon (7-5) in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 1:30 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on ABC.