Jalen Catalon, S
Catalon is arguably the biggest portal entry among Longhorns players on the defensive side of the ball this week. He is the only defensive player for the Longhorns who entered the portal this week with any starts under his belt this season.
Catalon has started in five games, all coming in the first half of the season. But his defensive snaps were very limited in the second half of the season due to rampant injury issues, which started in the Red River Rivalry game on Oct. 7 in Dallas against the Oklahoma Sooners.
After getting double-digit defensive snaps in each of the season’s first five games, Catalon only took double-digit snaps in a game once in the second half of the regular season. He played 11 defensive snaps in Texas’ dominant 50-point win over Texas Tech in the regular season finale on Black Friday (Nov. 24).
Unfortunately, Catalon continued to deal with many injury issues this fall. Injuries have plagued Catalon’s career, as he’s missed roughly three dozen games between his five years at Arkansas and Texas.
Texas could really use Catalon healthy and ready to go in the College Football Playoff semifinal game at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans against the No. 2 Washington Huskies on Jan. 1. Not only is he among Texas’s most experienced and physical safeties, but he could also play valuable defensive snaps in the secondary with true freshman safety Derek Williams Jr. to miss the first half against Washington due to a targeting call in the second half of the Big 12 title game.
With Sark and the Longhorns staff expected to allow many portal entrants on this roster to participate in postseason prep and the semifinal game on New Year’s Day, Catalon could still see live-game reps against Washington.
If he gets a medical redshirt, Catalon could have at least one or two years of eligibility remaining at his next stop out of the portal this offseason.