Catalonia, pool listed on pre-season watch lists

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas (KAIT) — Arkansas redshirt junior defensive back Jalen Catalon was named to the preseason watchlist for Paycom’s Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

Catalon is one of 35 players to make the list and one of six SEC picks.

The Mansfield, Texas product remains one of the best defensemen in the country despite missing most of 2021 with a season-ending injury. Catalon finished eighth on the team with a total of 46 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss despite only playing six games.

Heading into the 2022 season, Catalon has earned numerous preseason honors including Phil Steele Preseason First Team All-America, Phil Steele Preseason First Team All-SEC and First Team Preseason All-SEC praise.

The Jim Thorpe Award pre-season watchlist is selected by a review board whose members compile a list of up to 50 players. The review committee monitors all defenders, including players on the watchlist, throughout the season and narrows the field down to up to 15 semi-finalists in October. The committee meets again on the Monday before Thanksgiving to select three finalists. The three finalists are presented to a national judging panel of over 250 sportswriters, sports reporters, alumni players and coaches who vote to determine the winner of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.

The official presentation of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award will take place following the Home Depot College Football Awards in Oklahoma City.

Arkansas senior linebacker Bumper Pool was placed on the watchlist Monday for the prestigious Butkus Award, presented annually to the nation’s top linebacker.

The Butkus Award watchlist includes 51 linebackers that reflect the legendary “51” professional jersey associated with the award’s namesake, Dick Butkus, who was named the best defensive player in football history by NFL Films. The Butkus Award focuses on recognizing linebackers who consistently play the ball off their feet in a two-point stance in traditional form.

This is the fourth preseason honor for Pool, who has previously recognized Phil Steele Preseason Second Team All-American, Phil Steele Preseason First Team All-SEC and Preseason Second Team All-SEC.

The Lucas, Texas native led the Hogs with a total of 125 tackles (45 solo), his second straight season with a total of over 100 tackles. He’s one of college football’s best tackling machines, has made the second-most stops (320) of any FBS defenseman since 2019, and is entering the 2022 season with 349 career tackles — the ninth-most all-time in Arkansas.

The semi-finalists of the award are expected to be named on October 31st, with the finalists to follow on November 21st. Winner will be named on or before December 7th. Appearance on the watchlist is not a requirement to win the award.

Arkansas opens the season Saturday, September 3 at 2:30 p.m. against Cincinnati on ESPN. Season tickets are available now and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling the Razorback Ticket Center at (479) 575-5151.

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