Arkansas redshirt sophomore defensive back Jalen Catalon announced his plans to return and play his junior season for the Razorbacks in a tweet Tuesday afternoon.
“My family always told me, follow your heart and just enjoy the journey,” Catalon said in the tweet, “and that journey will continue here.”
Dear Arkansas…❤️ pic.twitter.com/zKFMkQOsc9— Jalen Catalon (@jcatalon27) December 14, 2021
Catalon was eligible to enter his name into this year's NFL Draft, but after his season was cut short because of injury, his name started to move down draft boards. Catalon was the nation’s No. 61 overall prospect entering the season, according to Pro Football Focus.
During his redshirt freshman season in 2020, Catalon was a First-Team All-Southeastern Conference and Third-Team All-America selection after compiling 99 total tackles, two tackles for losses, three interceptions, four pass breakups, seven pass deflections and two forced fumbles.
Injuries to his hand and a lingering shoulder injury limited Catalon this fall. In six games he contributed 46 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, four pass breakups, six pass deflections, a quarterback hurry and two fumble recoveries.
With the possible departures of senior defensive backs Joe Foucha and Montaric Brown looming, Catalon’s announcement provides a big boost to the defensive backfield’s prospects for 2022.
After Catalon’s injury this season, sophomore Myles Slusher stepped into his starting safety role and performed admirably. He will get the opportunity to build off his 2021 season alongside Catalon next season.
Catalon is the third Hog to announce his plans to return next season, joining senior offensive lineman Dalton Wagner and junior offensive lineman Ricky Stromberg, who have made their intentions public within the last month.