Texas Longhorns senior safety Jalen Catalon is back in the NCAA transfer portal a a graduate transfer, according to multiple reports on Monday evening.
The decision ends Catalon’s time on the Forty Acres after less than a year even though Texas is set to face Washington in the College Football Playoff semifinals on Jan. 1 in New Orleans. It was another injury-plagued season for the Mansfield Legacy product, who appeared in eight games with 17 tackles, one tackle for loss, and one forced fumble. Catalon started four of the first six games for the Longhorns before suffering a lower-leg injury in the loss to the Sooners in the Cotton Bowl that caused him to miss the next four games. Against Iowa State and Texas Tech, Catalon made one tackle in each game before failing to see the field in the Big 12 Championship win over Oklahoma State.
A 5’10, 201-pounder, Catalon was a consensus four-star prospect in the 2019 recruiting class and a key target of Texas. The former coaching staff wasn’t able to close with Catalon, however, as he chose Arkansas over Oklahoma, TCU, and Texas in January 2019.
After playing in four games as a freshman, Catalon broke out in 2020, becoming a Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist and earning first team All-SEC recognition from the AP after recording 99 total tackles (51 solo), two tackles for loss, three interceptions, four passes broken up, one fumble recovery, and two forced fumbles in 10 games.
Season-ending injuries derailed Catalon’s ascent to becoming an NFL Draft prospect. In 2021, Catalon played in six games due to a shoulder injury before opting to return to Fayetteville, but suffered another shoulder injury in the 2022 season opener that required reconstructive surgery.
Now Catalon is searching for a final opportunity as injury concerns continue to linger over his career.
Senior safeties Jerrin Thompson and Kitan Crawford also have decisions to make about their futures after walking on Senior Night last month — both players have a COVID year available.