The announcement of the Wisconsin Badgers returning to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2000 was only the beginning of a historical year in Madison. On Thursday night, senior offensive lineman Gabe Carimi was named the Outland Trophy winner, an award handed out to the best interior lineman in the country.
Carimi joins former Badger and current Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas as the second Wisconsin football player to win the award in the last five years.
The Outland Trophy, which has been awarded annually by the FWAA since 1946 is named after the late John Outland, a lineman at Pennsylvania at the turn of the century. The Outland Trophy is the third oldest award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell award.
By: Nick Grays
A huge reason the Badgers have been able to reel off seven straight wins en route to a 11-1 season and a Rose Bowl berth is the dominant play of their offensive line.
Not only do the Badgers rank 12th in the country in rushing offense at 247.3 yards per game, they are the only team in the country to have three running backs with 800+ yards. The line also did a great job of protecting senior QB Scott Tolzien who was sacked only 12 times all year.
However, not enough can be said about the 6-7, 327-pound senior from nearby Cottage Grove, WI. Since taking over for Joe Thomas at left tackle in 2007, Carimi has started in 48 games. Much like Thomas, Carimi seems to be a sure first round draft pick come April.
“Ever since I’ve been around Gabe Carimi, he’s a guy that is very focused on success,” said Badgers Head Coach Bret Bielema earlier this season. “He is kind of a perfectionist. You are always worried – I think early on in Gabe’s career – that he was going to be too hard on himself.”
Carimi joins Iowa’s Robert Gallery (2003), Minnesota’s Greg Eslinger (2005) and Thomas (2006) as the fourth Big Ten Conference player to win the award in the last eight years.
The official 2010 award presentation to Carimi will be Jan. 13, 2011 in Omaha, Neb., at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee.
Carimi was also named a Walter Camp First-Team All-American, becoming the first Badger since TE Travis Beckum in 2007 to earn first-team honors. Senior TE Lance Kendricks and Junior DE J.J. Watt were named Walter Camp Second-Team All-Americans.
The awards are beginning to pile up for the Badgers as senior QB Scott Tolzien won the 2010 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award on Monday. This award is given out to the top senior quarterback in the nation.
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