Despite the fact that most of the Texas Longhorns staff was finishing up a two-day ranch retreat on Lake Austin, the program still hosted several important prospects on Tuesday, including Mansfield Legacy safety Jalen Catalon:
The photographs reveal a key part of the recruiting pitch to the 5’9, 180-pounder — playing baseball on the Forty Acres for head coach David Pierce. Catalon plays centerfield for the Mustangs and had a breakout season, hitting .350 with two home runs, according to MaxPreps.
“I have talked with the Texas baseball staff,” Catalon told Mike Craven of the Austin American-Statesman back in April. “They said I can play if I want. We’ll see how things go. Texas will be in my top five and I’ll definitely be taking a trip to Austin for an official visit. It really feels like home each time I go.”
And there’s a reason why the Longhorns are willing to offer him the opportunity to play both sports. Throughout the process, Catalon has been one of the most important targets in the secondary. For much of that time, he’s arguably been the most important recruit to land.
Strongly built and one of the hardest hitters in the state, Catalon has a lot of similarities to former standout Quandre Diggs. The two players are around the same size, strike well, and display a high level of toughness. No doubt Diggs would argue that Catalon “has that dog in him,” the highest compliment Diggs can play to another football player.
On defense, Catalon has been massively productive over the last two seasons, particularly as a sophomore, racking up 196 tackles, nine interceptions, seven passes broken up, and seven tackles for loss.
As a junior, Catalon proved his versatility as one of the state’s most dynamic players, throwing for more than 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns while gaining 1,031 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns on the ground. For good measure, Catalon also caught a touchdown pass.
With the staff holding commitments from Kenyatta Watson II, Chris Adimora, and Marques Caldwell and room for two more prospects, Catalon is the top target left. The highest-rated recruit on the board is Lewis Cine, an out-of-state move in who is trending heavily to Georgia, increasing the importance of Catalon.
Since the Longhorns took a large and historically talented defensive back class in 2018, it’s been difficult to recruit the top in-state prospects, so Catalon is the Texas product who can lend some local star power to the 2019 class.
With Texas holding all five 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions for Catalon after looming as the heavy favorite for the last several months, now it’s time for safeties coach Craig Naivar to finish when Catalon decides to make his decision.