During the early national signing period, the Oregon Ducks signed each verbal commitment from what's likely to be the highest-rated recruiting class in program history.
But Mario Cristobal wasn't done yet.
With National Signing Day approaching on February 3rd, 2021, the Oregon Ducks staff has been hard at work to add to his already impressive incoming class. One of those prime targets? Byron Cardwell, the nation's No. 8 running back.
Thursday evening, the four-star back announced he will commit on Monday, January 25th via his Instagram account from his final four of Oregon, Auburn, Cal and Texas A&M. The San Diego native dropped USC from his consideration set in the process.
The 6', 203-pound running back prospect received an Oregon offer on November 30 and decided to not commit during the early signing period. Other schools have recruited him far longer having offered him back in April 2020 and Cal offering him on September 8th, 2019.
However, Auburn who joins those schools in his final four, didn't offer Caldwell until January 13th, 2021 following the hire of Bryan Harsin as head coach.
At The Opening Regional in February 2019, Caldwell ran a 4.69-second 40-yard dash, a 4.33-second shuttle cone, and had a 29.4 inch vertical.
247Sports ranks Caldwell as a four-star prospect with a composite ranking of being the nation's No. 8 running back and No. 183 overall player with National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins projecting him as a Day 3 NFL Draft pick with a player comparison of Melvin Gordon.
"Shows off nice combination of size, quickness and power," wrote Biggins. "Has very good hands out of the backfield and is versatile enough to play in all situations. Has the speed to hit the home run and pick up big chunks of yards but the strength and toughness to run between the tackles and pick up yards after contact. Thick upper body and elusiveness makes him tough to bring down in the open field and he catches the ball well enough to play some slot receiver. Projects as a impact upper-tier Power 5 starter and future high round NFL draft pick."
If Caldwell chooses Oregon, he would join three-star Seven McGee in the 2021 recruiting class among running backs but McGee projects more as a slot receiver rather than a three-down running back.
As a sophomore, he carried the ball 221 times for 1,096 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns and then followed it up with a 150-carry, 872-rushing yard and 21-touchdown junior season. He also added 42 receptions for 716 yards and four touchdowns across the two seasons, per Max Preps.
You can watch his junior season highlights here.