Jalen Catalon's season, and perhaps career with Arkansas, is officially over.
Catalon will undergo season-ending surgery on his shoulder next week. The All-SEC safety did not play Saturday in the Hogs' 38-23 loss to Auburn at home.
Considered one of the toughest players in the conference, Catalon played with a broken hand over the past two weeks after suffering the injury against Texas A&M in Arlington back on Sept. 25.
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said postgame that Catalon had also been playing with a "tear" in his shoulder. Now sitting at 4-3, perhaps its best to get him healthy for his future rather than worry about the present.
"I think it's time for him to get that shoulder fixed," Pittman said. "I think that's best for the kid."
Catalon became a can't-miss name for the Razorbacks (4-3, 1-3 SEC) to begin the season thanks to his physicality and coverage skills on the back end for defensive coordinator Barry Odom's system. With Arkansas beginning the season 4-0, the sophomore recoded 22 tackles, four pass deflections and two interceptions to kickstart the new regime in 2021.
During Pittman's first season in Fayetteville, Catalon proved to be the next big name in the SEC. Last season, he recorded 99 total tackles and three interceptions on his way to freshman All-SEC honors.
With Catalon out on Saturday, sophomore Myles Slusher started in his place. He recorded seven total tackles and a pass deflections. Auburn QB Bo Nix ate big against the Hogs' secondary, throwing for 292 yards and two touchdowns.
On the ground, the Tigers (5-2, 2-1 SEC) recorded 135 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Auburn tallied 427 yards compared to Arkansas' 460.
Arkansas played without three key defensive starters on Saturday. Pitman said that cornerback LaDarrius Bishop and defensive tackle Markell Utsey did not play due to undisclosed injuries.
The Hogs will take a break from SEC play next week with a home series against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.
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