Max Gruder led the team in tackles in two of his final three years—91 stops as a sophomore Will linebacker, and a career-high 116 as a Will linebacker in 2011, which led to All-Big East honors.
Gruder has had two chances to showcase his abilities for a possible shot at the next level—once at the East-West Shrine Game, and again this past Monday at Pitt's Pro Day. Gruder said the Shrine game was a good opportunity to get some initial feedback from some NFL scouts.
"The Shrine Game, I probably met about 15 (scouts), doing informal interviews and just giving basic information," Gruder said. "There will be visits (with NFL teams). Scouts will check up on you and call you. I'll head back to Florida, and I'll work out down there. It's kind of a wait and see process right now."
In Florida, Gruder participated at Camp Ignition in Naples, Florida with teammates Chas Alecxih and Buddy Jackson. Gruder will head back there to so some more training—a place he feels that really gave him a jump in preparation for essentially four drills.
"It went well," Gruder said of his training experience. "There were a lot of teams in there. It's hard getting in to know some of your times in some of the drills; some of the agility. As far as broad, bench, weigh-in, they were all personal records (at Pitt's Pro Day).
"It was fun to get out there and work. The tough part about it is when you train every single day, for four drills, it gets monotonous. We're done with it, and it went well. Chas and I, and Buddy, went to Florida and trained with people from all over—Alabama, Wisconsin, Syracuse. It was a really fun experience. It was in Naples. It was pretty fun. The weather was awesome. That's kind of the reason I wanted to be out of here (to train). I really think the best part is being out in the sun every day. Two hours away from home (Tampa), and I didn't have to deal with the snow until I came back."
One other thing that benefits Gruder is the fact he's played and started at multiple positions during his college career. He was a starter at the outside Will position in the 4-3 as a sophomore. He then moved inside to be the starting Mike linebacker in 2010, where he finished with 84 tackles—second only to Dom DeCicco, now of the Chicago Bears. Gruder then started at what's called the Will linebacker in the 3-4, but an inside linebacker position in that alignment. In talking with some of these NFL scouts, teams are looking at him at different positions.
"Every team said both (inside and outside linebacker)," Gruder said. "I've played every one in college, so I have a feeling I can do both. My weight (6-2, 230) is right where I can do both."