Predicting college football’s top 15 breakout stars for the 2017 season

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Potential 2017 College Football breakout stars

Potential 2017 College Football breakout stars

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Face it: college football lost a ton of star power from the 2016 season. Deshaun Watson? Leonard Fournette? Christian McCaffrey? Myles Garrett? All of them, and more, are gone.

But when college football loses its stars, it tends to gain more. Here are the 15 players primed for a breakout effort in 2017.

Some of these names are already recognizable from recruiting hype. Some aren’t because they redshirted or played a limited role last year. Some played last season, but take on a bigger role this year. Hopefully by season’s end, they’ll be household names or close to it. What they all have in common is they are in a position as a starter or heavy contributor to take a big leap forward.

The primary takeaway is to get familiar with newer faces and/or lesser known names. Like every list, it’s incomplete. If there’s a player you feel is primed for a breakout season, feel free to share in the comments.

RB Cam Akers, Florida State: This is probably a copout pick seeing as I predicted, boldly, that Akers could win the Heisman as a freshman. Still, Akers was the No. 1 running back recruit for 2017, per 247Sports. He, along with Jacques Patrick, will fill the shoes left by Dalvin Cook. Akers has the skill for a big year, but he also plays in an offense where he’ll be featured right away and on a team that should win a lot of games. Recruiting folks and college football die-hards know about Akers now; the entire college football world should know him soon.

OL Ben Bredeson, Michigan: Great name, obviously. Bredeson had an excellent freshman season at left guard with eight starts and an All-Big Ten honorable mention. It’s rare for a freshman to come in right away and make an impact in the trenches like that. With the Wolverines replacing well, pretty much everyone, Bredeson suddenly becomes one of the guys the offense must lean on for success.

WR Devin Duvernay, Texas: Collin Johnson would have been an acceptable choice here, too. But Duvernay, a sophomore, gets the nod here as a speedster and an absolutely ridiculous athlete. Duvernay was the Longhorns’ second-leading receiver last season with 412 yards and three scores. Once a Baylor commit, Duvernay was a big-play guy at 20 yards per catch. He can also contribute in the return game as well. He had a solid first effort, but with more rapport with quarterback Shane Buechele, Duvernay is primed to have a huge role in an offense that features a lot of raw skill at wideout.

RB Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma: The Sooners have a major gap to fill in the backfield with the departures of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. Anderson was a touted recruit out of Katy, Texas, just outside of Houston, in 2015; however, he has missed most or all of the past two seasons with injuries. The Sooners’ coaching staff has been high on him, though, and now that he’s healthy, he should be a feature back for the preseason Big 12 title favorites.

DB Byron Murphy, Washington: The Huskies have an absurd front seven, but the secondary has some new faces looking to make a name for themselves. Keep an eye on Murphy. A 4-star recruit in 2016, he was a scout team MVP in his redshirt year and a spring football name to know. That buzz has carried over into preseason camp.

DL Derrick Brown, Auburn: The announcement that Jarrett Stidham should be Auburn’s starting quarterback was a boost for the Tigers’ SEC West title hopes. But the Tigers need to replace some studs along a defensive line that lost Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson. Brown can be one of those next great D-line players. He appeared in all 13 games for the Tigers as a freshman and recorded 12 tackles and a pair of sacks.

OL Colton McKivitz, West Virginia: The Mountaineers have a legit quarterback in Will Grier. Now, they have to protect him. McKivitz started 10 games last season as a redshirt freshman, but was thrust into that role because of an injury. His role should be even bigger this time around. The Mountaineers have some more veteran players at guard, so the tackle positions will be ones to watch. Also, West Virginia doesn’t have great O-line depth. That starting five, including McKivitz, needs to have a big year.

DB Chauncey Gardner, Florida: The Gators have been blessed with riches at defensive back. Gardner had three interceptions and three pass break-ups as a freshman. With Teez Tabor gone, Gardner can slide in to a prominent corner role alongside Duke Dawson and the Gators will once again have one of the better secondaries in college football. However, Gardner is versatile enough to play safety and give Florida a ton of options.

WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss: Truth is, you could pick one of two or three wideouts from Ole Miss here and not be wrong. The Rebels have a lot of size, talent and potential at this position. Metcalf’s true freshman campaign was cut short by injury, but he showed a ton of upside in the short time he was on the field; seriously, you can’t do much better than two touchdowns on two catches. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Metcalf should be a red zone force for quarterback Shea Patterson.

LB Zach McCloud, Miami (FL): /extremely Chris Traeger voice I am literally more excited about Miami’s defensive front seven than I am about any other unit on any other team in college football. It has depth, talent and its best days are still ahead of it. "Inside the U" noted that McCloud was one of the most improved players in the offseason after finishing with 37 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss as a freshman. The Hurricanes have a trio of great sophomore linebackers who made an impact last year. Of those three, McCloud could be in for the biggest jump in Year 2.

TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe, USC: The Florida transfer caught 17 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns last season, so he’s not a complete unknown. However, the Trojans may need some help at pass-catcher beyond receiver Deontay Burnett. Imatorbhebhe should be a reliable option if he is able to stay healthy; he currently has a hip injury that’s limiting him in preseason camp.

DB Jordan Fuller, Ohio State: This time last season, Malik Hooker was a relative unknown for the Buckeyes. He would go on to be a first-team All-Big Ten and All-American selection, and was drafted in the first round into the NFL. Can Fuller, currently entrenched in a battle with Erick Smith, have a breakout campaign of his own? The Buckeyes have recruited so well that they are truly one of the few programs capable of reloading without much of a drop-off, and they’ve been especially prolific getting defensive stars. Fuller made an impact as a freshman on special teams. He should be a major contributor in the secondary on a team with national title hopes.

DL Jaelan Phillips, UCLA: He was the No. 1 overall recruit in 2017, per 247Sports, and word out of preseason camp is that Phillips is already showing off his freakish athleticism. "He’s going to be special," Bruins offensive lineman Kenny Lacy told reporters, via the Los Angeles Daily News. "I’m looking for him to make some plays for us in the first game." Phillips could be the next great edge rusher to make an impact right away.

WR Amari Rodgers, Clemson: The reigning national champs have a lot to replace, but there’s no shortage of capable guys to step up. One of those newcomers is Rodgers. Fellow wideout Tee Higgins was the 5-star prospect, but Rodgers is a blue-chipper himself and has been turning heads in preseason camp. Chances are, Rodgers and Higgins make an impact right away, but the way Clemson coaches talk about where Rodgers is mentally transitioning to the college game is encouraging.

DL Daelin Hayes, Notre Dame: A sophomore, Hayes was a spring game star for the Irish. Notre Dame had one of the worst pass rushing units last season with just 14 sacks, and a lack of domination in the trenches was a big reason for the 4-8 record. There’s a lot to prove for this defensive front, meaning Hayes has an opportunity to steal the spotlight this fall as a disruptive edge rusher.

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How To Be Successful In College

College is a great choice for furthering your education. Whether you have just graduated high school and are just starting college or you already have a degree and want to continue your learning, there are some tips you can use to help you be successful in your learning adventure. Continue reading these helpful hints.

First of all, it is important to know what is expected of you in each of your classes. Instructors typically share syllabus with their classes and this is normally where a lot of the most important information is shared. It should note the book you need for the class. It will also share information about assignments and tests and when they are due.

Second, stay organized. Once you know what your instructors expect of you, you can begin to organize your time. You already know when your classes are and your other responsibilities, with the expectations shared by your instructors, you now know when you have assignments due and tests to take. Write down these things or keep them in some sort of agenda. This will give you a visual of all that you have going on. By seeing this, it can serve as a reminder to do the things that need to be done.

Then, be open and honest about your learning. If you aren’t understanding something, be sure to talk with your instructor, a classmate, or a tutor. The earlier you do this, the less misunderstanding you should endure and the easier it will be for you to get back on track.

In conclusion, when you make good choices and keep up with all that you have going on, you can be successful in college. Use what you learned here in this article to help you in your college learning journey.

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Real Questions About Artificial Intelligence in Education

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Don’t doubt it: Machine learning is hot—and getting hotter.

For the past two years, public interest in building complex algorithms that automatically “learn” and improve from their own operations, or experience (rather than explicit programming) has been growing. Call it “artificial intelligence,” or (better) “machine learning.” Such work has, in fact, been going on for decades. (The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, for instance, got rolling in 1979; some date the ideas back to the Greeks, or at least to the 1940s during the early days of programmable digital computers.)

More recently, Shivon Zilis, an investor with Bloomberg Beta, has been building a landscape map of where machine learning is being applied across other industries. Education makes the list. Some technologists are worried about the dangers. Elon Musk, for instance, has been apocalyptic about his predictions, as the New Yorker wrote. He sparred this past week with a more sanguine Mark Zuckerberg. (The Atlantic covers it here.)

Investors are nonetheless racing ahead: this week, Chinese language learning startup, Liulishuo, which uses machine learning algorithms to teach English to 45 million Chinese students, raised $100 million to accelerate its work.

To explore what machine learning could mean in education, EdSurge convened a meetup this past week in San Francisco with Adam Blum (CEO of OpenEd), Armen Pischdotchian, (an academic technology mentor at IBM Watson), Kathy Benemann (CEO of EruditeAI), and Kirill Kireyev (founder of instaGrok and technology head at TextGenome and GYANT). EdSurge’s Tony Wan moderated the session. Here are a few excerpts from the conversation:

EdSurge: Artificial intelligence has been promising to transform education for generations. How close are getting? What’s different now?

Benemann: There’s so much more data than ever before. For us at EruditeAI, data is more precious than revenue. With better data, we can better train our algorithms. But the important point to remember is that the makers of AI are ultimately us, humans.

Pischdotchian: If you think back on the education model of your earlier years, we called it the factory model. Teachers broadly taught same subject to all students. That isn’t what we’re talking about today. Groups such as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are looking to overhaul this model. Learning can’t be done according to the factory model any more. It isn’t sustainable. What will industry require for today’s kids to flourish doing what we call “New Collar” work?

Kireyev: We’re seeing a data explosion in education content—both data for and from students. We can see what students are doing, far more rapidly than in the past. When kids work on Scratch, for instance, their work is web-based: You can see when they start watching a video, when they stop, when they’re bored. You get a lot of insight into their behavior. Transparent data collection is incredibly valuable. And there’s greater availability of the technology—things that you can literally use out the box. So more people are trying to do things with AI and machine learning.

Okay, we’ve heard about the data explosion and about the need to change school models. What else is going on?

Blum: There are two big trends going on—and we’re just at the beginning of this. We work with IMS Global Learning. Technical standards, such as Caliper, and xAPI (or Experience API)are just taking off. And second, there are a whole lot of areas, education is one of them, where you don’t have long-term data. So if you want to pick the next best thing [problem] for a student, you have to use a different approach called reinforcement learning. So if I don’t have a million data records, I can explore as I go. It’s how Google solved the AlphaGo challenge.

What applications do we see of AI in education? Are we using it already?

Pischdotchian: This is about finding patterns in learning experiences. We can take note of say, if one person’s stronger in math, how can the system identify the challenge, and then open it up to teachers so they can be better tutors for their students? IBM is working with Sesame Street on this—the partnership is using universities as testbeds for the development of machine learning. It can also come in handy for teachers: We had a hackathon at MIT and all the classrooms have cameras (and students know that). If a professor is delivering a lecture and he doesn’t look up to see whether half the class is asleep, we can use facial recognition to depict emotions (such as boredom) and send the professor a message.

Benemann: Everywhere you look, people are asking what aspect of education (and everything else) can be touched by AI. What does this look like in the classroom? Will it free up the day? Will AI replace the teachers? Will AI help teachers free up their time so they can be “guides” for the students? Can adaptive platforms (such as ALEKS or Knewton) help students learn the facts and enable the teachers to guides?

A Survey of the State of Machine Intelligence 3.0, from

Does that suggest that without AI, the “adaptive” technology on the market, isn’t really that adaptive?

Benemann: It’s a spectrum. Some tools are adaptive, but they’re saying they’re “AI” [but we still have a ways to go.]

Kireyev: Instagrok is a visual search engine. We’re using machine learning to identify the important facts, concepts and then letting the students pursue learning in any direction. They can synthesize it, organize it. TextGeonome is another project. We’re building an infrastructure to do deep AI-based vocabulary development. We’re asking: Given a student and grade level, what are the kinds of words they need to learn next?

Blum: At ACT (which acquired OpenEd),we’re focused on the question of: If you’ve identified the learning gap, what’s the best instructional material to help the student? Not just ACT material; we want to give you the best instructional resource we can find. We use machine learning to pinpoint those.

In some areas, if you don’t use machine learning predictive models, you’re remiss. Take college admissions offices.

As you shift from statistical evaluation models to deep machine learning [involving neural networks], what hasn’t kept pace is “explainability.” You might have a neural network that you can’t explain. So one key challenge as the predictive algorithms get better—and as you get to multilayer neural networks—is that explainability falls off. In some heavily regulated markets— education and medicine, for instance—more explanatory tools will have to be developed.

Suppose you’re at a big university: They use statistical models to pick the incoming class. Now, say you have a neural network or some machine learning program that’s better at predicting student outcomes. For sure, there are universities doing this. They won’t talk about it because the stakes are so high. But you can be sure they’re using machine learning to pick the incoming class. We will need some kind of summarization tools to explain these choices. Even though deep learning is complicated, for this to get talked about and accepted, we’ll have to come up with some of the big elements of explanation: How did they get there?

There are concerns when words like “AI” becomes a label used to sell a product. Say I’m a teacher, and an edtech company says “my math tool is AI-backed.” What should I ask?

Blum: The problem ties back to discoverability and explainability. If you’re going to slap on the AI label, then I want to know more: Are you talking about supervised symbolic system? Natural language processing? If you just say “AI” and nothing further, that reduces your credibility. If you use the AI label, it’s an invitation to have a conversation about what’s behind it all.

Benemann: Vendors should talk about student outcomes and teacher practice. Don’t talk about AI at all. It’s just another way to enable student learning and teacher practice. You’re better off going to the district and saying: Because you use this product I can do a case study and show an increase in efficiency and less wasted time in the classroom.

How do you balance the need for AI tools to have data while safeguarding the privacy and security of sensitive student data?

Blum: We’re at a point where there’s no such thing as PII (personally identifiable information). If you have enough knowledge you can probably deconstruct who any person is likely to be. So there need to be industry standards. This is an area where it would improve the job of edtech developers if we said, “Here’s what you’re allowed to gather and share.” Something I’ve raised is the need for better standards on privacy so no one can get sued if they follow the standards.

Benemann: Who owns data? Look at health care. It’s a fragmented market, but there’s a trend where patients are increasingly owning data. I wonder if we can get to point where students have the data and it’s up to them (students and their parents) to say, ‘Yes, schools you can have access.’

Job automation is a threat that many people are worried about. How will this impact teachers—and other professions?

Kireyev: I see role of teacher shifting in wonderful ways. Leadership, guidance…these are things I’m excited about getting from teachers. And then more and more teachers can shift into working more deeply with kids, rather than just explain how equations work.

Blum: There have been efforts to do learning goals for vocational tech. But it’s been underutilized. We need to be a little more forward thinking…what does it mean to be truck driver in 10 years? How does that impact supply chain [across industries?] We need efforts to make vocational education better.

Pischdotchian: Hence the importance of STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics] instead of STEM. The right side of brain—arts, creativity, psychology, not the analytics and the math, will be ever more important. Psychology. History. Debate class. Humor and drama. These facets are not (amenable to AI), at least in our lifetime.

AI has gotten good at making certain things easy. But that’s concerning. Thinking hard about things doesn’t come naturally to us. Growth and comfort cannot coexist.

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Move to turn Pvt College into public varsity

In an unprecedented move, the government has taken an initiative to turn a private college in Kishoreganj into a public university.

Hazi Asmat College at Bhairab of the district has been selected for developing it into a university to ‘make easy access of the students in the haor region to higher studies.’

The college is popular for HSC courses. It is also imparting education under honours courses in seven subjects.

Sources concerned said the education ministry has taken the move to turn Hazi Asmat College into a university as per the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

On June 12, the ministry in a letter signed by deputy secretary of the ministry Jinnat Rehana asked University Grants Commission (UGC) to make a draft law in this regard.

The UGC has already formed a five-member committee, headed by its member Prof Shah Nowaz Ali, to prepare the draft, the sources said.

UGC additional director (public university division) Kamal Hossain, also a member of the committee, told the daily sun that they are working on the matter.The government will start next steps of work soon after the law is passed in Parliament, sources said.

The authorities of the college strongly opposed the government initiative for making their institution into a public university, but local people welcomed it.

When contacted, AK Mobarrak Ali, acting principal of the college, said the government has taken the move to stop their movement for nationalisation of their institution.

“Our teachers and staff will lose jobs if the college becomes a public varsity.

We want nationalisation of the college as the government earlier nationalised many small colleges in Kishoreganj,” he said.

Md Shahin, former mayor of Bhairab municipality, said that local people will be happy if the government turns Hazi Asmat College into a public university.

“The government already nationalised many small colleges, including Zillur Rahman Mohila College in Bhairab. It will be a good decision if Hazi Asmat College becomes a university,” he said.

Hazi Asmat College was set up on 12.85 acres land in 1947 during British regime.

The college, which was once affiliated with Calcutta University, has also honours courses in seven subjects. Currently, the college has some 4,000 students at honours and HSC level.

College authorities said they are facing problem in running the academic activities due to shortage of teachers and employees.

The college is running with only 39 teachers and most of the major posts, including principal and vice-principal, have been lying vacant for years.

The government earlier turned the government-run Jagannath College and some engineering colleges into public universities.

Hazi Asmat College is going to the country’s first private college to turn into a public university.

There are 40 public universities in the country and 37 of them are now in operation.

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