This is the fifth in a series of stories on Outland Trophy winners from 2006-2020. From 1946-2005, the first 60 Outland Trophy winners were profiled in the book 60 Years of the Outland Trophy by Gene Duffey. In celebration of the Outland Trophy’s 75th Anniversary we are catching up with the last 15 recipients.
(Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi became the second Wisconsin offensive lineman to claim the Outland Trophy during a five-year period. He had 49 starts at left tackle in his four-year college career. Carimi was selected by the Chicago Bears, 29th overall, in the 2011 NFL Draft. He played four seasons in the NFL, two with the Bears and one each for Tampa and Atlanta.)
By Gene Duffey, Author
Early in his career as a Wisconsin Badger Gabe Carimi showed he could follow a legend and do it his way.
The phone call surprised Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema. Alayne Gardner-Carimi, the mother of Bielema’s redshirt freshman offensive tackle, wanted to talk.
Alayne told Bielema that her son, Gabe, was Jewish and would be fasting before the Iowa game, Sept. 22, for Yom Kippur, the holiest of Jewish holidays. Tradition dictates that Jews fast from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday.
“Thank goodness Iowa’s a night game,” said Alayne.
“It took me by surprise,” said Bielema. “We’ve had a number of Jewish kids on the team. There’s a large Jewish population in Wisconsin.”
The Badgers entered the Iowa game, their Big Ten opener, with 3-0 record. They beat the Hawkeyes, 17-13.
Carimi played. He said that fasting did not affect him. He did eat some bread before taking the field.
“I made that decision on my own,” he said of the decision to fast. “I felt fine.”
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in the Jewish religion, came into play again during Carimi’s senior year. Once again he fasted for the 24 hours before the Sept. 18 home game vs. Arizona State. The Badgers beat The Sun Devils, 20-19, in Wisconsin’s third game of the season.
A favorite axiom in sports is don’t try to succeed a legend. Carimi did just that at Wisconsin.
Offensive tackle Joe Thomas won the Outland Trophy in 2006, the same year Carimi arrived on campus. Carimi took over at left tackle for Thomas in 2007 as a redshirt freshman and started for four years.More…