Donald Catalon - YouTube
Duke Catalon is the top running back in the state of Texas for the 2014 class.
Name: Donald "Duke" Catalon
High school and hometown: Houston (Texas) Eisenhower High School
Position: Running back
Height and weight: 5'11, 190 pounds
Ratings: A four-star prospect by 247Sports, Rivals, and Scout, Catalon is not yet ranked by ESPN. Considered the best running back in the state of Texas by 247Sports and is ranked just outside the top-100 nationally by the 247Sports composite ranking.
Offers: Catalon holds offers from Oklahoma State, SMU, Texas, and Texas Tech. He committed to Texas in August of 2012.
Donald Catalon Class of 2014 RB - Aldine Eisenhower (via TexasPreps)
Catalon proved his toughness as a junior by managing to exceed his sophomore production by nearly 20 yards, despite suffering a big toe injury ($) during the first game of the season that limited him for the rest of the way and required surgery following the season.
As a result, his sophomore film is probably more telling in terms of his game speed, which seems to exceed his work on the track. During the spring of his sophomore year, he posted a time of 11.72 in the 100m, an extremely average time for one of the top running back prospects in the country, though it's not clear if Catalon even ran the 100m in more than one race.
It appears that Catalon focuses instead on the 4x100m, in which he and his teammates posted a best of 44.04 in 2012, a decent time that suggests that Catalon is either faster in the relays than he was on his own, or that he has a couple of faster partners on the relay team who make up for his times.
Based on his speed in pads, the best guess is the latter.
And in any case, Catalon's speed in pads is what will be important once he makes the transition to college. In that regard, the opening highlight from the above video shows Catalon bursting into the open field and outrunning a defender with an angle, as well as every other player on the opposing defense.
So it's safe to say that he possesses more than enough explosiveness. A decisive runner who likes to plant his foot and get upfield, Catalon prefers to make subtle cuts at top speed -- he's more of a slide cutter than a jump cutter with elite lateral agility.
A prerequisite for any good running back is good balance and Catalon certainly has it, as he can keep his feet if opponents try to tackle him too high.
One area of improvement for Catalon is to consistently use his 190-pound frame to move the pile at the end of runs. While he can occasionally break arm tackles and drive his legs on contact, he doesn't always maximize runs by finishing strong against smaller opponents in the secondary.
An added bonus to his game is that he has experience out of the backfield as a receiver, so he could be a candidate to split out wide at times in college.
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