Jalin Hyatt gets OK from Odell Beckham Jr. to wear No. 13

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Thursday, August 31, 2023

No. 13 for the New York Giants makes you think of one name. No, not wide receiver David Sills, who wore it the past few seasons. Or Reggie White Jr., who took it over in 2019.

The number 13 was made famous for the Giants by Odell Beckham Jr. with his memorable one-handed catch and 1,300-plus-yard seasons.

Now there is a new No. 13 in blue with rookie Jalin Hyatt switching numbers this week. The Biletnikoff Award winner was wearing No. 84 until Sills latched on to the Denver Broncos practice squad Wednesday.

Hyatt got the stamp of approval from OBJ.

Hyatt knows Beckham a bit. At the Fanatics Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles back in the spring, Beckham jokingly told Hyatt, "Don't break all my records on the rookie year."

Hyatt wore No. 11 in college and admitted that would've been his preference with the Giants. But New York has that number retired for Super Bowl-winning quarterback Phil Simms.

Because Hyatt considers himself a lower-number kind of guy, he figured 13 was the next-best option, even if he knew it would come with the pressure of reminding some of Beckham, who exploded onto the scene and set records with the Giants as a rookie in 2014.

"What he did here -- had a great career with the Giants and kind of took over," Hyatt said. "I was a fan when I was young watching him. High school, college and now being here, but just with the jersey number, it's just one of those things I wanted to start my own legacy.

"I like low numbers, and if I had to choose a number it'd be 11, but it's retired here, so can't go with that one, so 13 would be the next option."

Hyatt comes to the Giants with high expectations. He was the best receiver in college football last year but fell to the third round of the draft.

He has been knocked for the limited route tree the University of Tennessee ran and taken exception at times to that criticism. But Hyatt's speed has shown that it can play at the NFL level. Veteran cornerback Adoree' Jackson compared his stride to Usain Bolt during training camp.

Hyatt has proved to be a big play waiting to happen this summer. He had a 33-yard touchdown reception from Tyrod Taylor in the preseason and caught a deep score in five straight practices at one point in camp.

The rookie receiver still thought long and hard before deciding on No. 13. He even crowdsourced before making the move.

"Most of the decision was mine. I asked some of my teammates what they thought, and they told me, 'You should do it,' so I decided to make that change," Hyatt said. "I can't wait to go out there Week 1 with that jersey number and do what I do."

The Giants play the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, Sept. 10, in Week 1 at MetLife Stadium. Beckham made his famous grab as a rookie on a Sunday night against the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.