The versatile McCauley contributed to the team as a receiver, rusher, kick returner, and punter, leading the team in most categories. In 1970 he led the nation in rushing with 1,720 yards and all-purpose running with 2,021 yards. His 1,720 yards rushing broke the NCAA record and continues to withstand the test of time ranking as the second highest total in ACC history and the highest at North Carolina. A consensus All-America selection and team captain his senior year, McCauley led the conference in scoring with 21 touchdowns for 126 points and continues to hold numerous school records. His career statistics include 5,014 all-purpose yards, 3,172 rushing yards, 786 yards receiving, and 1,056 yards on kick returns. He also led the team in punting with 48 punts for 1,845 yards—a 38.4 yard average.
With the acquisition of the Miami Dolphins first round draft pick, awarded to them as compensation for tampering in the hiring of then head coach of the Colts, Don Shula, Baltimore selected McCauley in the first round (22nd overall) in the 1971 NFL draft.