Arguably the top remaining target for the Texas Longhorns is now off the table, as versatile Mansfield Legacy safety Jalen Catalon announced his commitment to the Arkansas Razorbacks on Friday in a ceremony at his high school, siding with Chad Morris’ program over the TCU Horned Frogs, Oklahoma Sooners, and of course, the Longhorns.
Though Catalon’s decision serves as disappointing news to Texas, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
After initially appearing to be the team to beat throughout the spring, summer, and on into the earlier portion of the 2018 season following Catalon’s numerous trips to the Forty Acres, Texas saw the momentum begin to shift in Arkansas favor just weeks after the four-star talent was on hand for the Longhorns 37-14 win over USC. Even prior to his Oct. 6 official visit to Fayetteville, Crystal Ball projections began to roll in favoring the Hogs, and that momentum never really subsided, despite Texas’ best efforts.
The Longhorns did receive one of Catalon’s official visits — the third of his four — hosting the Dallas-area star over the Dec. 7 weekend, but the weekend-long pitch was unable to swing things back in their favor. Nevertheless, with Catalon electing to remain uncommitted through the early signing period, Texas was able to push to the very end, and the Horns did just that. However, the Razorbacks secured Catalon’s final in-home visit less than 24 hours prior to his pledge, and ultimately, the last laugh in this recruitment, as he now joins high school teammates at Arkansas in Enoch Jackson and Taurean Carter.
TCU, too, made a push of its own, hosting Catalon for his final official visit and offering the opportunity to remain close to home, but even down the stretch, the Horned Frogs were considered a dark horse, at best.
With Catalon headed out of state, the 2019 Texas defensive back haul will seemingly cap with its current four pieces. Nevertheless, the Longhorns secondary class marks program’s second praiseworthy bunch in as many years, featuring a pair of All-Americans in Plano East safety Tyler Owens, Loganville (Ga.) Grayson cornerback Kenyatta Watson II, as well as four-star Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair safety Chris Adimora and three-star Alvin cornerback Marques Caldwell.
As it currently stands entering the final couple weeks of the 2019 cycle, Texas’ class sits at No. 8 nationally and No. 2 in the Big 12.