UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS FOOTBALL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Defensive back Jalen Catalon and linebacker Grant Morgan checked in on the preseason watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which was released Tuesday morning by the Football Writers Association of America.
The Arkansas stars are two of 90 standouts from 61 FBS schools in the running for the award given to the best defensive player in college football.
Catalon, who has already earned preseason All-SEC, Bednarik Award watch list and Jim Thorpe Award watch list recognition, logged 99 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, three interceptions, four pass breakups, one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles as a redshirt freshman last year. His 9.9 tackles per game tied for the FBS freshmen lead and was fourth among all SEC defenders.
Catalon grabbed FWAA Freshman All-American and All-SEC First Team (AP) honors last season, becoming the first SEC freshman since Tennessee’s Eric Berry in 2007 to post at least 86 tackles and three interceptions. Against Tennessee, he recorded 12 tackles and tallied an interception and pass breakup, claiming SEC Defensive Player and Jim Thorpe Award Player of the Week recognition.
Morgan, meanwhile, is a candidate for the Bednarik Award and Butkus Award as well as a Preseason All-SEC selection headed into the 2021 campaign. The linebacker was one of the best players in all of college football last year, producing one of the greatest seasons in Arkansas history.
The Greenwood, Ark., product, who was named a Walter Camp and AFCA Second Team All-American at the year’s end, posted an SEC-leading 111 total tackles, including 7.5 for loss, with 2.0 sacks. The linebacker finished tied for the nation’s lead in tackles per game (12.3) while intercepting one pass, breaking up five and registering one quarterback hurry. Originally a walk-on, Morgan joined Martrell Spaight (2014) as the only two Razorback defenders to garner both AP and Coaches All-SEC recognition in the last 10 seasons.
The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy before the winner is chosen and honored at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet presented by LendingTree on Dec. 6 at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Catalon, Morgan and the Razorbacks open the season at home against former Southwest Conference rival Rice at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, on SEC Network+/ESPN+. Season tickets are available now and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling the Razorback Ticket Center at (479) 575-5151.