Nevada wide receiver Kaleb Fossum changes number to honor former teammate
January 16th, 2018 was a very difficult day for former Washington State wide receiver and current Nevada wide receiver Kaleb Fossum.
"If you knew Tyler when I got the call I was like, 'No way, there’s no way that kid.' If you hung out with him, I’ve never seen him sad. I’ve never seen him with a frown on his face. It kind of hits you again like you never know what certain people are going through," said Fossum.
January 16th, 2018 is the day when Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski committed suicide.
"He actually texted the day before that all happened," said the redshirt junior. "He heard I was playing baseball so he reached out and was like, 'Hey man that’s awesome. I miss you.' So I talked to him the day before that all happened. Saw him a couple weeks before that over Christmas break. It was kind of crazy. You never know if that’s the last time you see somebody."
Kaleb was not only impacted on the field by Tyler as Tyler's impacts on Kaleb can also be seen on the field. Instead of wearing the number seven like Fossum did last year, he changed his number to three for this coming football season.
The significance? That was Tyler’s number while he was at WSU.
"It just means that when things are getting tough or just the little things, I can just look down at my number and it will help me get through it," said Kaleb of changing his number. "Having that I just feel like he’ll be with me and I feel like I can represent him out here even though I’m not at Washington and not with the guys any more. So I just felt like I can do my own thing for him since I’m not able to show it up there. I’m just glad I can represent him and keep him around. Keep living for him and playing for him."
Nevada Head Coach Jay Norvell is impressed with his wide receiver’s decision.
"He just came to me and talked to me about how close he was too him and how he’d like to honor him that way," said Norvell. "I thought it was awesome. It just kind of shows the kind of teammate Kaleb is and how much his teammates meant to him."
It’s clear that Tyler certainly meant a lot to Kaleb and Kaleb will carry the lessons he learned from Tyler for the rest of his life.
"He was one of the strongest kids I ever known and sometimes it’s the strongest ones you need to reach out to. It just really opened my eyes. Just start being nicer to people and little things like that. Tell the people that you love that you love them because you never know what people are going through."