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#55 Days Until Pitt Football: Max Gruder

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If you spend any time on Twitter, you no doubt have seen people posting certain Pitt players wearing uniform numbers that correspond with the number of days left until the football season kicks off. Jim did it last year and this year, Pat Narduzzi has been doing it.

I know we have a lot of younger readers here and also some folks that may not have spent their entire lives following Pitt sports. For that reason, I thought it would be cool to not only do the countdown here, but also give a brief writeup on the player to potentially help fans connect a little more with some of the all-time greats.

Quick disclaimer - this isn't necessarily about picking the best player for each number. Not only is that disputable in many instances, but it's not really the point of the exercise. So don't be offended if your favorite player doesn't make the list here. I'll probably mirror Narduzzi's list for the most part but may go off the board in a few instances.

These will also be brief, folks. It's the offseason and we all use this time to wind down a bit. These won't be theses or anything, but we'll cobble together a few facts for each guy.

Finally, feel free to add on to a player's accomplishments in the comments section. Some I'll leave out due to space/time and some I may not even know about. But this will be a good learning exercise for all of us.

Continuing our countdown today is linebacker Max Gruder.

After redshirting as a true freshman in 2007, Gruder quickly developed as a fixture on the field under Dave Wannstedt. He was a reserve in 2008 as a redshirt freshman, but still appeared in every game. By 2009 in his first season as a starter, he was the team's leading tackler. He moved to middle linebacker and started there in 2010 after Dan Mason's gruesome injury in the Miami game. Gruder started for his third consecutive season in 2011 and earned All-Big East Second Team honors after another strong season.

Gruder wasn't taken in the 2012 NFL Draft, but later signed a free agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons. Unfortunately he didn't stick as a player, but he now works as a scout for the Miami Dolphins.

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