By Stephen Tsai
If linebacker Dylan McCagg were to fill out a UH information sheet, he could list his vertical reach as 14,000 feet.
As part of his conditioning program, McCagg recently made the winding 15-mile hike up Colorado's Mount Evans.
"It's pretty high," McCagg said of the trek. "There aren't a lot of 240-pound mountain climbers, for sure. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done."
He said it took eight hours to ascend; three hours to descend.
"Mountain climbing is not a passion of mine," he admitted. "I do it for exercise."
McCagg, who was raised in Denver, is prepared for another journey when he joins the Warriors in a few weeks. He was an NCAA qualifier as a Kent Denver High School senior in 2008, and his junior college transcripts should be approved soon by UH's admissions department.
"I'll definitely be there before (the start of training) camp in August," McCagg said.
McCagg, who is 6 feet 2, was a standout in football and lacrosse in high school. Kent Denver's lacrosse team won the state title when McCagg was a senior. He never considered playing lacrosse in college.
"I wanted to play football," he said.
He was a walk-on at SMU in 2008, former UH coach June Jones' first season at the Dallas campus.
"I was on the scout team, and didn't have too much interaction with (Jones)," McCagg recalled. "I talked to him once, and he told me I was in the wrong spot. He was a good coach. He's really soft-spoken. He's a smart guy."
McCagg quit the team before the season ended. Later, he reclaimed his passion for football.
"I figured junior college was my best option," he said.
He enrolled at San Diego Mesa College, where a Kent Denver graduate was on the coaching staff. McCagg was a two-year starter.
After the 2010 season, he received a scholarship offer from Division II schools. He waited, then received an offer from a I-AA school. Then he ran into UH defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who was evaluating prospects on the West Coast. Soon after, Aranda called McCagg, saying the UH coaches were impressed with his football videos.
With no scholarships available, McCagg was asked to join UH as a preferred walk-on. He accepted
"I can't wait to get out there," said McCagg, who will compete as an outside linebacker. At San Diego Mesa, which ran a 4-3 scheme similar to the Warriors', McCagg was used as middle linebacker, weakside linebacker and defensive end. He will have two years to play two UH seasons.
Here's his highlight video: Dylan McCagg.
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Former Warrior safety Mana Silva is training in Hawaii while awaiting the end of the NFL lockout. He hopes to sign a free-agent deal.
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Yes, a Tank can fly:
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I've watched enough Godfather movies to know this is an omen: