The Recruiting Guy:

Safety target to announce his choice Friday

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Arkansas football helmets sit atop storage bins during a game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas football helmets sit atop storage bins during a game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Fayetteville.

Safety and University of Arkansas target Jalen Catalon will announce his college decision Friday at his high school gymnasium.

Catalon, 5-10, 180 pounds, of Mansfield (Texas) Legacy, will decide from among Arkansas, Texas, TCU and Oklahoma at 3:15 p.m. He also had scholarship offers from Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, Nebraska and numerous others.

He suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game of his senior season against Jenks, Okla. As a junior, he was named The Dallas Morning News's All-Area Defensive Player of the Year after recording 101 tackles, 3 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles and 5 recovered fumbles.

He also started at quarterback and passed for 1,122 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns to lead the Broncos to the 5A Division II state semifinals.

National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network rates Catalon a four-star prospect.

"He was one of the more aggressive defensive backs I saw last year," Lemming said of Catalon's junior season. "He has a great football IQ and instincts and ability to move that you look for in a defensive back."

He visited Fayetteville for the Wooo Pig Nic event that saw numerous top prospects on the Arkansas campus in July. Two of his teammates, defensive linemen Taurean Carter and Enoch Jackson Jr., signed with the Hogs in December.

Catalon was named The Associated Press' Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year and the Texas Sports Writers Association Class 5A Defensive MVP as a sophomore after recording 196 tackles, 10 interceptions, 7 tackles for loss, 7 pass breakups, 3 forced fumbles and a recovered fumble.

The three high school teammates officially visited Fayetteville for the Alabama game in October.

Coach Chad Morris, defensive coordinator John Chavis, safeties coach Ron Cooper, and lead recruiter and cornerbacks coach Mark Smith will make an in-home visit to Catalon on Thursday night. Catalon said TCU and Texas are also making in-home visits, but he's not sure when.

Lemming says Catalon has what's needed to be a top flight safety in college.

"His motor never stops. He's a tenacious and tough player with terrific range," Lemming said. "He shows an outstanding closing burst."

ESPN rates him a four-star recruit, the No. 13 safety and the No. 222 overall prospect for the Class of 2019.

Sending a crew

Arkansas made a strong statement to running back commitment A'Montae Spivey when the offensive staff spent most of Monday with him and finished it up with a dinner at a local restaurant.

Offensive coordinator Joe Craddock, associate head coach and running backs coach Jeff Traylor, offensive line coach Dustin Fry, tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. and receivers coach Justin Stepp made the trip to Alabama.

Spivey, 6-1, 207 pounds, 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Phenix City (Ala.) Central, committed to the Hogs on Aug. 6 after holding scholarship offers from LSU, Purdue, Cincinnati and others.

He added an offer from Ole Miss on Nov. 18 and has plans to officially visit Oxford on Jan. 26. He and his parents officially visited the Hogs for the Alabama game in October.

Spivey helped the Red Devils to a 14-0 record and the Class 7A state title this past season. He rushed 183 times for 1,363 yards and 18 touchdowns prior to the title game.

Email Richard Davenport at

Sports on 01/15/2019


Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.