B.J. Catalon

Nearly 30 percent of early entries weren’t selected in NFL draft

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Not surprisingly, some of the players who left eligibility on the table for an early shot at the pros were left without a chair when the draft music stopped Saturday.

By the deadline in mid-January, a total of 84 players with eligibility remaining filled out their paperwork to make themselves available for the 2015 NFL draft.  As noted by Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com, 24 of those 84 players went undrafted as the seven-round event concluded yesterday evening.

While that’s 28.6 percent, it’s actually a better rate than a year ago.  In 2014, 36.7 percent (36 of 98) of the early entrants went undrafted.  That total of 98 last year was a record number of draft-eligible players who left with eligibility remaining, which prompted the NFL to change its protocol in an attempt to roll back the number of players leaving early.

Getting back to this year, 16 of the 24 who weren’t selected came from Power Five football programs.  TCU was the only school with two early entrants who weren’t picked (running back B.J. Catalon, safety Chris Hackett), while two of the players came from non-FCS levels.

It should be noted that most if not all of the players in this group will sign as an undrafted free agent.

Below is the complete list of those who went undrafted.

SS Durell Eskridge, Syracuse
CB Jacoby Glenn, UCF
FS Chris Hackett, TCU
WR DaVaris Daniels, Notre Dame
RB Trey Williams, Texas A&M
DE Deion Barnes, Penn State
TE Jean Sifrin, Massachusetts
DT David Irving, Iowa State
WR Deontay Greenberry, Houston
DT Ellis McCarthy, UCLA
RB B.J. Catalon, TCU
WR Chris Harper, California
LB Max Flores, Northern Colorado
RB Dee Hart, Colorado State
RB Braylon Heard, Kentucky
WR George Farmer, USC
WR Nigel King, Kansas
OT Patrick Miller, Auburn
WR Zach D’Orazio, Akron
WR Tacoi Sumler, Appalachian State
OG Tyler Moore, Florida
WR Jaquel Pitts, Trinity International
LS Easton Wahlstrom, Arizona State
OLB Darien Rankin, North Carolina

Mom of TCU’s B.J. Catalon says son is off to NFL

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Just because yesterday was the deadline for draft-eligible players to declare their intentions with the NFL, it doesn’t mean we’re done with the news of such players trickling out.

Ahead of the release of the NFL’s official early-entry list this coming Monday, the mother of TCU running back B.J. Catalon confirmed to TCU360.com that her son has decided to forego his remaining eligibility and make himself available for the April/May draft.  The school also subsequently confirmed that Catalon is gone, and it doesn’t appear he will be changing his mind at any point over the weekend.

Catalon had been the Horned Frogs leading rusher prior to suffering a concussion in early November.  He sustained the head injury against West Virginia, and ultimately missed the remainder of the 2014 season.

Despite that, he was still a finalist for the Hornung Award, given annually to the nation’s most versatile player.

Catalon finishes his career with 2,554 all-purpose yards: 1,644 rushing, 997 on returns and 393 receiving.  He also scored 12 total touchdowns (10 rushing, one each passing and returns).

Gary Patterson rules RB B.J. Catalon out for Peach Bowl

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Despite not playing in the final four games of the season for the TCU Horned Frogs, running back B.J. Catalon still leads the team with 10 rushing touchdowns. It’s a total Catalon won’t be able to increase at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

TCU head coach Gary Patterson stated Catalon won’t play in the bowl game due to an inability to get him fully ready for the contest.

Prior to Catalon’s injury, the running back gained 493 yards through the team’s first eight games. Since his departure from the lineup, junior Aaron Green effectively took over as the team’s top rusher. During those final four games, Green ran for over 100 yards three times and averaged 119 yards per game.

With Catalon out of the lineup, Green’s contributions during the bowl game will be vital to TCU’s success.

Ole Miss owns one of the nation’s most aggressive defensive fronts. TCU’s ability to run the ball effectively will take pressure off of quarterback Trevone Boykin. If the Rebels can effectively slow Green then they’ll be able to pin their ears back to rush the passer, which is where their defensive line truly excels.

Mr. Versatile: Shaq Thompson claims Hornung Award

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In one of the least surprising results of the 2014 award season, Shaq Thompson has staked his claim to a trophy honoring the most versatile player in the country.

Friday morning, it was announced that the Washington linebacker/running back/running backer/running Shaqer has been named as the 2014 recipient of the Hornung Award.  Other finalists for this year’s version of the award, which honors versatile former Notre Dame great Paul Hornung, were Nebraska running back/return specialist Ameer Abdullah, TCU running back/return specialist B.J. Catalon, Stanford wide receiver/return specialist Ty Montgomery and Missouri running back/return specialist Marcus Murphy.

This season, Thompson scored six touchdowns — four defensively, two on offense.  The four defensive touchdowns (three on fumble returns, on an interception return) were the most at the FBS level.

Offensively, he was second on the Huskies in rushing yards with 456.

“I’m very pleased for Shaq,” said UW Head Coach Chris Petersen. “This is an honor that he has earned on the field and off. For a player to perform at such a high level in so many different ways is so unusual and impressive. We’re grateful that all of his hard work has been recognized.”

This is the fifth year the Hornung Award has been handed out.  Past recipients include LSU’s Odell Beckham (2013), West Virginia’s Tavon Austin (2012), Georgia’s Brandon Boykin (2011) and Stanford’s Owen Marecic (2010).

TCU with good news, no news on skill-player front

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TCU’s skill-position players are getting healthier. Whether they are getting really healthy as the push toward a potential spot in the College Football Playoff remains to be seen.

Gary Patterson confirmed Tuesday that wide receiver Deante’ Gray will play in the Thanksgiving Day game against Texas. Gray has missed the past two games with a foot injury.

Despite being sidelined for a pair of games, Gray is still tied for the lead in touchdown receptions with seven, while he’s third in receiving yards (486) and fourth in receptions (29).

On the not-so-good injury front is B.J. Catalon.

The running back sustained what’s only been described as an upper-torso injury — the speculation is that it’s a concussion — in the Nov. 1 win over West Virginia. Catalon did not play in the last two games, wins over Kansas State and Kansas, because of the injury. Whether it’s a third straight sidelining is unclear, although it’s not sounding promising.

I don’t know whether B.J. will be with us or not,” the head coach said when asked about Catalon’s availability for the holiday road trip to Austin.

This season, Catalon has accounted for 910 all-purpose yards — 493 rushing, 163 receiving, 254 on returns. That versatility led the junior to be named as one of the five finalists for the Hornung Award.

Despite those two missed games, he still leads the Horned Frogs with 10 rushing touchdowns. He’s returned a punt for a touchdown this year as well.