High School Sports

One of the top players in the country, from Mansfield, is headed to the SEC. But where?

4-star Jalen Catalon announces his commitment

Mansfield Legacy 4-star safety Jalen Catalon committed to Texas, Arkansas, OU or TCU on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.
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Mansfield Legacy 4-star safety Jalen Catalon committed to Texas, Arkansas, OU or TCU on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

One of the best football players in the country has made his decision on where he’ll play college football.

Drum roll, please...

Four-star safety Jalen Catalon (Mansfield Legacy) announced his commitment to Arkansas on Friday from Legacy High School. He also considered TCU, Oklahoma and Texas.

“I went there on my official visit and it just felt like home; Arkansas felt like family,” Catalon said. “I wanted to weigh my options and see where the best opportunity was for me to grow as a person and football player and it’s at Arkansas. I’m excited to get down there and work. I found my home for the next four years and it doesn’t get better than this.”

Catalon is ranked as the No. 25 safety in the country and No. 38 overall prospect in the state, per 247Sports. Arkansas led the way in 247Sports’ Crystal Ball Predictions at 82 percent with Texas in second (18 percent).

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He also holds offers from Alabama, Clemson, Colorado, Duke, Florida, Houston, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North Texas, Ohio State, Penn State, Rice, SMU, Southern Miss, Stanford, Texas Tech and Wisconsin.

Catalon said Arkansas coach Chad Morris has always been solid ever since Morris was at SMU and was one of Catalon’s first offers. He also said that he made his decision over the weekend.

“He never switched up and always made me a priority,” Catalon said. “He has a family like structure, all the schools were, but at the end of the day I felt comfortable with what he’s doing and our relationship. I’m proud of my decision and I’m so ready. It was a tough decision, but the love and care they were offering me, and what’s going on there, it was something I couldn’t turn down.”

He’ll join Legacy teammates Taurean Carter and Enoch Jackson, who both signed with Arkansas in December.

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Legacy safety Jalen Catalon, middle, commits to Arkansas, Friday Jan. 18, 2019 where he’ll join teammates Taurean Carter and Enoch Jackson. Brian Gosset bgosset@star-telegram.com

“Jalen surprised me, he took my breath away,” said Carter, who sprinted around the gym when Catalon made his announcement. “He’s the best safety in the nation and we’re going to need it against teams like Alabama. The chemistry is going to be strong and something nice. You have two studs on the D-Line and a man in the secondary, knowing what he can do; it’s a bad scene for the SEC.”

“Just another one of my brothers I’m going to college with. I’m ecstatic, it’s going to be a scary sight in the SEC,” Jackson added. “With Tauren and I getting pressure on the QB, he’ll throw it up and someone is going to get it and that someone will be Jalen Catalon.”

Catalon, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury during Week 1 of 2018, entered the season as a top recruit after a stellar sophomore and junior season with the Broncos. He recorded 276 tackles during those two years with 13 for loss, 10 pass deflections, four forced fumbles, five recoveries and 12 interceptions. He accounted for 2,234 yards and 28 TDs as the starting quarterback in 2017 when Legacy made its deepest playoff run ever to the state semifinals.

The Star-Telegram, Associated Press and District 10-5A named him Defensive Player of the Year in 2016.

Catalon was also a nominee for the Tom Landry Award, and was district MVP in 2017.

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Born and raised in Hawaii, Brian Gosset graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in journalism before coming to Texas in 2014. He’s covered high school sports — yes, pretty much every high school sport — for the Star-Telegram ever since.