Texas Football: Jalen Catalon ruled out for Longhorns vs. Kansas State

Jalen Catalon, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Jalen Catalon, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

Texas football head coach Steve Sarkisian took to the podium for his Thursday press conference on Nov. 2, where he provided an update on a couple of key injured players for his squad. The most notable injury update Sark provided during his press conference on Nov. 2 was for senior safety Jalen Catalon.

Sark said Catalon was back at practice on Thursday. But Sark said he doesn’t “think he will be able to go Saturday”.

Sark also said that “we need him down the stretch”, referring to Catalon’s potential availability during Texas’ critical two-game road stretch in mid-November against the TCU Horned Frogs (Nov. 11 in Fort Worth) and Iowa State Cyclones (Nov. 18 in Ames).

Texas football S Jalen Catalon likely to miss the Week 10 Big 12 battle vs. No. 23 Kansas State

It looks likely that Catalon will miss his third game in a row due to a leg injury he suffered against the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Rivalry game in Dallas on Oct. 7. Catalon suffered a leg injury in the second half against Oklahoma and has been limited in practice in the last few weeks.

Catalon has struggled with a multitude of injury issues during his collegiate career, dating back to his time in Fayetteville with the Arkansas Razorbacks before he transferred to Texas during the offseason. He dealt with many injuries at Arkansas, causing him to miss over a dozen games since the 2020 season.

Texas looks for other answers at safety with Catalon out

Pete Kwiatkowski and safeties coach Blake Gideon have had to look to other options for answers for some of the coverage woes the Longhorns have experienced at safety in the last few weeks. Texas has rotated senior safety Jerrin Thompson, redshirt sophomore Michael Taaffe, senior Kitan Crawford, and true freshman Derek Williams Jr.

Williams got a bigger role in the secondary in Catalon’s absence in the last few games. He’s been one of Texas’ most consistent safeties in the last two or three games, leading to more trust from the coaching staff in live-game action in the secondary as he took a team-high (among Texas safeties) 46 defensive snaps last weekend against BYU.

A healthy Catalon can provide a late-season boost for Texas’ safety room

Catalon was a significant contributor to Texas’ defense in the season’s first five games. He started the first four games of the season and five of the first six for the Longhorns at safety alongside Thompson. He’s a hard-hitting playmaker with excellent instincts and football IQ in the defensive backfield, which is always difficult to replace at safety.

Catalon registered 15 combined tackles, one tackle for loss, six defensive stops, and one forced fumble before the leg injury against Oklahoma sidelined him for the last three outings.

Texas kicks off against Kansas State at home at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin on Nov. 4 at 11 a.m. CT.

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