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first_imgWhile many students occupied their time this past semester studying abroad, working an internship or balancing homework and other extra-curriculars, one Saint Mary’s student spent the last several months living out her dream as a singer. Sylvia Yacoub, a Saint Mary’s sophomore, took the year off to pursue her aspirations of becoming a professional singer when she auditioned for “The Voice,” an NBC reality television show where participants compete on teams coached by successful musicians. When singers are selected to participate on the show, they have the option to choose to be coached by one of four artists: Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green. Yacoub chose Aguilera and said the opportunity to work with her has been an unforgettable one. “Getting the chance to work with [Aguilera] and perform with her has been incredible,” she said. “She has been my idol since I was a little girl and to know that she knows who I am personally is awesome. We connected so easily both artistically and emotionally.” Throughout the rehearsals and performances, Aguilera acted as a mentor to Yacoub, coaching her during her time on the show. In addition for the chance to learn under Aguilera, Yacoub said she especially enjoyed getting to know her coach’s personality and work ethic. “She’s a strong woman and stands for what she wants – and I love that about her,” Yacoub said. “You have all these ideas about how great your idol is and to meet Christina and to have her exceed all of my expectations was really cool. She was probably the most real person [at “The Voice”], and she was always herself. That is something I respect.” Though Yacoub received coaching and advice from Aguilera throughout the competition, she was also able to hear the other coaches’ opinions about her performances. Yacoub said she really enjoyed that aspect of “The Voice” and was grateful to hear additional feedback on her singing. “It was awesome,” she said. “Not everyone gets coached by their idol, let alone four different amazing singers. [They] are all really different artists and that feedback really helps you grow because you realize ‘Well this group thinks this, so I need to improve on this.’ It was great.” While the comments and advice from Aguilera and the other three coaches were extremely helpful to Yacoub, she said she also benefited greatly from the support of the Saint Mary’s community and her hometown of Muskegon, Mich. “Everyone’s support means the world to me,” she said. “Friends, and even people I don’t know and alumni are all reaching out to me. The support has been impeccable and I personally feel I had one of the best hometown and school backings [on “The Voice”]. It feels great to know so many people support me.” The support from all of her fans helped Yacoub push through some of the more stressful parts of her time on the show. She said the experience of rehearsals, performing and competing was an “emotional rollercoaster.” “I think I cried more on the show than I have in my entire life,” she said. “You just spin through so many different emotions. You go so quickly from excitement to being nervous to ‘I could go home tonight’ to ‘Oh my gosh, America saved me’ – it was crazy.” After making it onto the show after the blind auditions and advancing past the knockouts into the top 10, Yacoub was voted off of the competition last week after her performance of Alicia Keys’s “Girl on Fire.” While Yacoub is disappointed she is no longer on “The Voice,” she said she was expecting the elimination. “I kind of had a feeling I would go home,” she said. “I had mentally prepared myself and got it all out of my system the night before. I just had this gut feeling. But I was really happy with my last performance – it had a message I think is really important and the coaches were happy with it, too.” While her time on “The Voice” is over, she said her plans to return back to Saint Mary’s are still  being finalized. Because she is still under contract with NBC and “The Voice,” she is unable to make any definite plans right now. “I definitely will come back to Saint Mary’s and visit,” she said. “There is a possibility I will be back next semester to finish the year but everything is still up in the air. It all depends on my career and me moving forward with my singing.” Despite her uncertainties at the moment, Yacoub said she is confident in her career and hopes others take inspiration from her success on the show. “I’ve opened a lot of doors by being in this competition and making it to the Top 10, so expect more coming from me,” she said. “I hope my experience shows that someone with literally no connections can make it and that I’ve given people the drive and push to shoot for what you want.”last_img read more

first_imgAlso included are wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (83 throw power), who played quarterback for a brief time in the NFL; strong safety Jameill Showers (80 throw power), who was a quarterback in college; wide receiver Braxton Miller (74 throw power), who played QB at Ohio State, and oddly enough, tight end Hayden Hurst.What makes Hurst interesting is that he has 73 throw power — with accuracy ratings of 15, 10 and 6. This is because Hurst didn’t play quarterback at any point, but was a highly scouted pitcher who wound up being drafted by the Pirates. He could throw up to 90 mph as a high school freshman.Just goes to show the people behind the Madden ratings put a lot of research into their work. The player ratings for “Madden NFL 20” are here, as EA Sports released its entire database ahead of the game’s Aug. 2 release date.We looked beyond the top overall players to find some interesting notes buried deep within the player ratings system. It’s worth noting these are just the launch ratings for the game. Every week, EA Sports will update the ratings based on player performance to account for breakout stars, such as Patrick Mahomes last season. We’ll go through and explain all of them.Matt HaackThe Dolphins punter played wide receiver growing up. He earned first-team all-state honors playing receiver in high school and made the change to punter essentially when he went to college.Mitch WishnowskyThe 49ers punter ran a 4.63 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. As a punter at Utah, he showed off his ability to run a few times.Jake BaileySimilar to Wishnowsky, Patriots punter Bailey has shown off his wheels on fake punts in the past.IT’S FAKE PUNT SZN!!!! JAKE BAILEY GOT SOME SPEED! 😤 #PATRIOTSpic.twitter.com/plBXGBcxCD— #34 (@ftbeard_17) April 27, 2019The offensive lineman who can play receiverIf you filter out the positions that would have obvious receiving skills (WR, HB, CB, S, LB, etc.), you get some interesting results on out-of-position players with surprising hands. A few of them are explainable. For instance, J.J. Watt (LE) has 78 catching since he has played on offense a few times and has intercepted passes.Ryan Tannehill (who played wide receiver briefly in college) has 76 catching. Joe Webb, a listed quarterback who has experience playing receiver, is at 72.But the shocking player here is Seahawks right tackle George Fant.He has 70 catching, 66 catch in traffic and 68 spectacular catch. Not bad for an offensive lineman.So where does this come from? How can a 322-pound lineman be such a great receiver? Because last season, he showed off his hands in a game against the Vikings.🚨 GEORGE FANT CATCH & RUN 🚨 pic.twitter.com/DfpJgBjYkt— Seattle Times Sports (@SeaTimesSports) December 11, 2018The surprising thing here, though, is he’s just four catching ratings lower than the wide receiver with the worst catching rating: Isaac Whitney. And fun fact for that, Whitney’s catching is so low because he’s a converted cornerback.The best non-QBs who can play QBThis is somewhat of a misleading title, because a lot of the non-QBs in Madden actually played quarterback at some point in their career.Lions tight end Logan Thomas, for example, has the best overall ratings among the non-QBs. He played quarterback at Virginia Tech, which explains his decent ratings. He could actually swap positions and be an interesting option at quarterback with his speed ratings. But for the most part, these ratings provide an important base for the remainder of the season.MADDEN 20 REVIEW: The good, the bad and the new from EA SportsMost of the ratings make a lot of sense. Tyreek Hill is fast, so he gets 99 speed (the fastest player in the game). Orlando Brown ran the fifth-slowest 40-yard dash ever at the NFL Combine, so he gets the slowest speed (50). But some of the ratings may make you question a few things.We spotted five of those ratings, and will explain all of them below.Odell Beckham Jr. the kickerOdell Beckham, the three-time Pro Bowl receiver, has the second-highest kick power (75) out of all non-kickers. He even has a solid kick accuracy (53), which would make him somewhat useful at the kicker position. Obviously he’s much better as a receiver, but if you want to have some fun you could turn him in to a decent kicker.His ratings are so high in these categories because he actually has shown off his kicking skills in the past. 🙌Another impressive pregame field goal from @obj: pic.twitter.com/BQBe5Gvshw— Sporting News (@sportingnews) November 25, 2018If that didn’t impress you, here he is making a 46-yard kick.We mentioned OBJ was the second-highest non-kicker/punter in the kick power category, so let’s explain the first: linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill. He actually has 85 kick power, which is just two points below an actual punter (Kasey Redfern) and just five points below a kicker (Sam Ficken). So what’s the story here? Grugier-Hill played soccer in high school, where he was an all-conference and second-team all-state punter in high school in Hawaii. In 2017, when Eagles kicker Jake Elliott had to leave a game because of a concussion, the linebacker stepped up and took over kicking duties.Zach Wood: The worst player at 36 overallZach Wood is listed as the Saints’ tight end in Madden, but not that’s not his role in real life. Wood is a long snapper, and unfortunately for this unique position, Madden doesn’t really have a way of rating it. As there’s no snapping category, there’s no official long snapper position. Most of the time, the person snapping the ball in the game is actually an offensive lineman.Seven players are ranked 40 overall or less, and they’re all listed as tight ends (but are actually long snappers). One of those long snappers, Patrick Scales, plays for the Bears — and he couldn’t believe his rating when read aloud to [email protected]’s got our #Madden20 ratings and he’s revealing them to some very interested teammates.PS – @EAMaddenNFL rating adjustor… @The_Dream99 is 👀 for ya. pic.twitter.com/oBa98G6w3t— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) July 15, 2019Please respect the long snapper, Madden.MADDEN: NFL players upset with ratings: ‘Put some respeck on my name’These punters have some serious speedDolphins punter Matt Haack is the fastest kicker/punter in the game with 85 speed, 86 acceleration and 61 agility. Saying he could play running back is a bit of a stretch since he has just 24 elusiveness and 18 trucking, but the point is he’s really fast. And the surprising part is that he’s not the only one.Let’s take a look at some of the punters and kickers with decent speed. (EA Sports) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/6/8b/madden-punters_vku443cbp6kt1hq5q0kjhm9gi.png?t=-86882525&w=500&quality=80last_img read more