McCauley spent three seasons playing at Texas A&M (1998–2000) before transferring to Alabama State University in 2001. He was a two-year starter at left tackle for Texas A&M, earning preseason All-Big 12 honors before the 2000 season. He earned Division I-AA All-America honors at Alabama State as an Offensive Tackle in 2001.
McCauley was invited, and attended the 2002 NFL Combine. He was rated the 28th best guard out of 43, and was projected to go unselected in the draft.