(CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Cowboys first round pick Leighton Vander Esch knows what’s expected of him and so do his parents, Darwin and Sandy.
“He wants to bring home another trophy to Dallas and you fans,” his father said.
But to understand the linebacker’s desire, understanding his background is important.
Growing up in Riggins, Idaho — a town with 410 people — he’s fought against the stereotype of being a small-town guy his entire life.
His mother gives him one, simple piece of advice: “Just keep being yourself and never stop being who you are”.
Being a natural-born hunter is part of who Vander Esch is. With his father owning a bear and wolf hunting company in Alaska, tracking down wildlife is something he’s done since he was a child.
He said being an outdoorsman is something that will always define him.
The chip on his shoulder that comes with people doubting that he can measure up will also define him. In his words, Leighton said, “it will always be part of my make-up”.