Carimi commands attention

Monona Grove lineman received an armload of postseason honors

In his senior season, Gabe Carimi made his presence known on the football field for Monona Grove High School. Carimi was a star two-way lineman, providing a big impact both at right tackle and at defensive end.

Everyone, it seems, took notice. The postseason honors poured in for Carimi, a 6-foot-7, 270-pound three-star prospect who gave his verbal commitment to Wisconsin in June.

Since Monona Grove's season ended with a 20-14 loss to Waunakee in a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 2 state quarterfinal playoff game, Carimi has received the following plaudits:

  • State lineman of the year, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • Area large schools co-player of the year, from the Wisconsin State Journal.
  • Area player of the year from The Capital Times.
  • First-team all-state offensive line from the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association, the Associated Press and Journal Sentinel.
  • All-state defensive end from the WFCA and honorable mention all-state defensive end by the Journal Sentinel.
  • Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Southwest Region top-ranked offensive lineman and No. 2 defensive end.
  • Badger South Conference unanimous first-team offensive tackle and defensive end.

Carimi said he was surprised by the player of the year awards.

"I'm a lineman and linemen usually don't get those kind of awards," Carimi said.

"It's a really nice honor to get all this stuff and be recognized for the season," Carimi said. "It's something that I am really going to know that I'm going to enjoy looking back on, in a couple years, but right now I'm just focusing on next year."

Next year Carimi will make the short move from Cottage Grove to Madison, where he will embark on his college football career.

Last week, future Badger head coach Bret Bielema, currently the team's defensive coordinator, made an in-home visit to have dinner with Carimi and his family.

"It was a lot of my parents just talking and him talking," Carimi said. "It was just about a whole bunch of things. Most of the time it wasn't even related to football. It was just talking."

How does Carimi feel the transition within the coaching staff with affect him?

"We talked about how he's changing the staff," Carimi said. "He thinks it's funny how people sometimes think of who he is going to hire, how totally wrong they are and stuff about that.

"He told me that (offensive line coach Jim) Hueber was staying and that's what's most important to me, because that would have been kind of—I wouldn't say I wouldn't have went to Wisconsin, but I'm really glad that Hueber's still staying their offensive line coach."

Now that the football season is in the past, Carimi is focused on getting bigger and more athletic. He does not have a winter sport and is not sure whether or not he will compete in track in the spring.

Carimi lifts weights Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in an effort to add size and strength to his frame.

"I focus on speed too," he said. "Jump rope and core exercises on Tuesday and Thursdays."

Carimi is one of five committed prospects expected to take their official visits to Wisconsin this weekend.

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