Chad Morris didn’t even attempt to hide his praise when it came to what may be his favorite signee of Arkansas’ 2019 signing period. Jalen Catalon is a special player according to his new head coach.
The Razorbacks coach met with the media on Wednesday to break down his entire 2019 signing class following the conclusion of National Signing Day and during his introductory comments, it was as if Morris could not wait to discuss Catalon.
“Jalen Catalon from Mansfield Legacy High School and the state of Texas, one of the best high school football players that I’ve ever seen — top 5 for sure,” Morris said emphatically. “Fantastic player. Plays safety, can play a lot of different positions but I’ve been watching high school football for a very long time and recruiting a very long time and this young man is one of the best that I’ve seen. Played a lot of positions.”
The 5-foot-9, 188-pound Texas native was rated as a four-star prospect coming out of Mansfield and that was even after sitting out most of his senior season due to injury. While it’s atypical for players of that size that miss a good chunk of time to remain ranked among the nation’s elite, clearly the recruiting analysts much the same things that Morris sees in the new Arkansas defensive back.
Morris was asked a follow-up question about Catalon and once again offered some incredible praise for the incoming freshman.
“As I mentioned earlier, I’ve seen a lot of high school ball and I’ve said this over and over about him,” Morris continued. “We were the first to offer him at our time at SMU. Just knowing him and knowing the program he plays in and the level of competition he has to play at, he can play safety, he can play cornerback, quarterback, he played both ways.
“He is one of the top five best high school players that I’ve seen play. His potential and his upside is phenomenal. It’s unfortunate that he suffered an injury this year in the first game because the outcome for their season would have been different because I think he’s that big of an impact player.”
Based on that lofty praise, if he can stay healthy, there doesn’t seem to be much doubt that Catalon will be seeing the field early for Morris and defensive coordinator John Chavis next fall.
To get an idea of what Catalon potentially brings to the Arkansas defense, check out his junior season highlight reel with Mansfield Legacy High School :