McGlynn prepares for NFL career

By Joe Scalzo

The four-year starting tackle for Pitt from Austintown Fitch is hoping to be drafted.

Mike McGlynn married his high school sweetheart on Jan. 12, then spent the next week in Mobile, Ala.

If this sounds like a lousy honeymoon, don’t worry.

“We’re waiting until after this whole thing to go on our honeymoon,” McGlynn said.

McGlynn, a Fitch High graduate who just finished his last season at Pitt, has had to shelve his personal plans to focus on his professional one. The four-year starter at offensive tackle has been busy preparing for next month’s NFL draft, which means he’s in the midst of a four-month job interview.

It started with the Senior Bowl in Mobile, where he played left guard for the first time, and continued through February’s NFL combine and team interviews. Pitt will hold its pro day on Monday, where about 20 NFL scouts will watch the team’s best players do their best to impress.

“None of it is stressful,” said McGlynn, who started 45 games at tackle and two at right guard in his college career. “I don’t have anything to hide. I’ve never had any character problems or anything.

“I try to have fun with it, but I take it personally and seriously.”

If things go right, McGlynn will hear his name called at some point during April’s draft — preferably in the second or third round — and get busy fulfilling his dream to play professionally.

He’s one of a handful of area standouts with a chance to get drafted next month, a list that includes Michigan wideout Mario Manningham (Warren Harding), West Virginia defensive tackle Keilen Dykes (Chaney) and Toledo offensive lineman John Greco (Boardman).

Dykes, a three-year starter, also played in the Senior Bowl but was not invited to the combine. Although it bothered him at first, he said he’s moved on and has been busy the last few weeks.

The Mountaineers held their pro day last week and he’s already visited with the Steelers and Coach Mike Tomlin.

“There are a lot of good players that don’t get invited to the combine,” he said. “It’s something that didn’t happen for me. It wasn’t to be.

“It hasn’t slowed me down.”

Dykes has upcoming visits scheduled with the Vikings, Seahawks, Patriots and Cardinals, among others, and spends his off time working out in Huntington.

“I’m just trying to get faster and stronger,” he said. “The gym here is set up like Apollo’s gym in ‘Rocky III.’ It’s raggedy, but the trainers are helping me out. It’s good.”

Dykes and McGlynn faced off in high school, then continued their rivalry in college as members of the Backyard Brawl. They went head-to-head their first two seasons, then Dykes moved inside from defensive end, meaning they usually weren’t lined up against each other.

The Mountaineers and Panthers split their last four meetings, but the most recent game was the biggest. West Virginia entered the contest needing to win to earn a shot at the BCS title game. Instead, Pitt pulled off the 13-9 upset — the highlight of an otherwise disappointing 5-7 season.

“We got a big win against Keilen and ruined their national championship hopes,” McGlynn said.

Both players said they are proud of their Youngstown-area roots and both keep tabs on area players scattered throughout the country.

Although McGlynn and Greco were rivals in high school, they’ve grown friendly over time, McGlynn said.

“We’ve stayed in contact throughout the years,” McGlynn said. “I wish nothing but the best for all those guys.”

Chaney already has one graduate playing in the NFL — Jets wide receiver Brad Smith, who was a standout quarterback at Missouri —and Dykes has dreamed of joining the Cowboys’ NFL tradition since he was young.

“When you walk through Chaney, you see all these big pictures on the wall of guys like Jerry Olsavsky, Anthony Floyd and the only Heisman Trophy winner from the area, Frank Sinkwich,” said Dykes, who earned first team All-Big East honors the past two years. “Whenever I see those pictures, I think, ‘Man, I want to get up on the wall.’

“There’s a lot of tradition and I want to be a part of it.”

Former Fitch and YSU standout Jeff Wilkins retired in the offseason after a successful career with the Rams, meaning McGlynn would be the only Falcon in the NFL. McGlynn said he was the first Fitch grad to be invited to the combine and hopes to become just the third Falcon to play in the NFL, joining Wilkins and former Notre Dame defensive lineman Mike Calhoun, who was drafted by Dallas but played for Tampa Bay and San Francisco.

“Coming from Youngstown, from a blue-collar family, it’s a blessing to be in my shoes,” McGlynn said. “It’s a very proud moment for me.”

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