Wisconsin Football Countdown: No. 62, Paul Gruber


As the countdown to the first Wisconsin football game of the season continues, Badger of Honor is taking a look at Badgers by the numbers, checking in on a different Badger or Badgers players who wore the number corresponding with the remaining days until the Badgers head to Texas to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday, Sept. 5.

Next up in our countdown, signifying 62 days until college football is back, is Paul Gruber.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

At UW from 1984 to 1987, Gruber was one of, if not the, best linemen in the country by the time he left the program. A Prairie du Sac native, Gruber was a great player on a Badgers squad that went a collective 18-27-1 during his time at UW.

Still, Gruber was recognized as one of the best in the business.

He earned first team All-American status from The Sporting News and second team All-American status from the United Press in 1987, and was first team All-Big Ten the same year.

Following college, Gruber was the fourth overall selection in the 1988 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He had a long and successful NFL career, playing 12 seasons and starting all 183 games he played in for the Buccaneers. His career ended when a broken leg cut short the 1999 season, playing a role in his decision to retire.

Much like his college career, Gruber was a great player on a below-average team. That didn’t stop people from recognizing his talent, however.

He was a three-time Pro Bowler, a two-time NFL All-Pro, and in 2012 became the fourth member to join Tampa Bay’s Ring of Honor. At the time, Gruber joined Lee Roy Selmon, John McKay and Jimmie Giles on the Ring of Honor; since his induction, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Mike Alstott and Doug Williams have been added.

Who wore No. 62 first?

• Tackle Paul Lytle first wore No. 62 for the Badgers in 1927.

Who wears No. 62 now?

• Redshirt junior offensive lineman Walker Williams currently wears No. 62 for the Badgers. Williams is in competition for a starting lineman spot this season.

Stay tuned to Badger of Honor as we continue our daily countdown in preparation of the season opener against Alabama.

Next: Wisconsin Football Experience

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