Johnny Frasier of Princeton, Nyheim Hines of Garner and Bryce Love of Wake Forest combined for 120 touchdowns and more than 8,000 yards rushing during the 2013 high school football season.
Watch and listen to these high school stars in a special interactive presentation.
As juniors they did not make their college football decisions on Wednesday. They likely will sign next February, or if they decide to graduate early, may already be in college by the 2015 National Letter of Intent signing day.
They each have at least 30 scholarship offers, including ones from many of the nations best college football teams.
The three sat down with The News & Observers Tim Stevens to talk about how their lives have changed and what is important to them as they contemplate their college football futures.
Q: How is your life different than it was in August?
Frasier: Everybody knows me now. People I dont know come up to me and talk. I feel like I cant really trust people, that they want something from me. Im more guarded.
Hines: Everywhere I go Im recognized. After a game, people want to have a picture taken with me or talk to me. People come up and ask where are you going to school and tell me where I should go.
Love: Everything is totally different. I know that people are looking and I need to always do the right thing.
Hines: Its a blessing, but its different.
Q: Each of you have a lot of scholarship offers. How difficult is the recruiting process?
Love: Youve got to pick just one. They all sound so good, but you can only go to one.
Frasier: I always say go to the one that is best for you. Im working to make the decision for myself.
Hines: The fans really recruit for the schools through social media. They want you, but you have to decide which is the best place for you. The decision will affect the rest of your life.
Frasier: It gets exciting, seeing the different views. Im hearing from four or five a day.
Hines: The coaches can only talk to you so much, but the internet guys can call a lot more. They can tell you a lot of the things going on in the program more than the coaches can.
Q: What are you looking for in a football program?
Frasier: The biggest thing with me is the education I will get. I need to feel comfortable with the coaching staff and I need to know how people are treated in the program, but the education is why you go to college. You cant count on playing pro football.
Hines: The education is the biggest thing with me, too. The football system is very important. Would I fit in with what they are doing? The campus and the coaches are important, too, but the system is really big. If they want a great big running back, thats not me.
Love: Youve got to look at the system. And the education. And how you feel with the players and coaches.
Q: What about staying in-state? A lot of the best players have chosen out-of-state schools in the past.
Frasier: I like to go see other places, but my decision will be on whats best for me.
Hines: The in-state coaches talk a lot about our players needing to stay in the state. It is pretty established that you can go pro from just about any Division I program. Wherever I go, it will be where I think its best for me. Right now, Im still learning about all of the schools.
Love: At the end of the day, you have to make the best decision for you, in-state or out-of-state.
Q: Duke had a tremendous year this season and recruiting experts expect Duke to do well in-state next year. Is Duke a viable option for the best high school players in the state now?
Love: Duke has a really good coaching staff with Coach (ReQuan) Boyette and Coach (Scottie) Montgomery. Coach (David) Cutcliffe is really honest. Youve got to like the coaches.
Hines: Eli and Peyton Manning still come to coach Cutcliffe for advice. I think Duke is great. I loved to watch them play this year. Its bowl game was great. I think Duke should have beaten (Texas) A&M, but Johnny Manziel was crazy.
Frasier: Coach Boyette is a great person. I think lots of players will consider Duke.
Q: Nyheim, you have a twin sister, Nyah. Will she be a part of your decision?
Hines: We have played together all of our lives. Whenever a coach talks to me, I mention her. We want to go to school together. She has earned some scholarship offers of her own in track. I would love for us to go to the same college.
Q: How about you and Bryce? You have been friends for years and run track together. Any thoughts of playing together in college?
Love: Weve never talked about that, but it would be good to be on the same team.
Hines: Itd be cool. Bryce could be the running back and Id move to the slot. It would be fun to play together.
Q: Speaking of college, some big changes are being considered. The NCAA is considering paying players. Should college football players be paid?
Love: I believe they should be. They are selling jerseys and images of the players and giving them nothing. You get a South Carolina jersey because it is (Jadevon) Clowneys number. Thats why you want it. The school is making a lot of money off that and hes getting nothing. The colleges are getting all the money from ESPN and getting salaries way up. It is not equitable.
Hines: If they use you, you should get paid for it.
Frasier: I disagree. I think if you start paying players it changes everything. I think it would take the morals out of education. Getting an education should be enough.
Q: How important is it to you to get an education, not just a diploma?
Frasier: I want to learn so I can be prepared for life. Even if you make it to the league, you cant play forever and the money you make in football might not last a lifetime. You need an education. Something you can fall back on.
Hines: Im going to college to get an education. Thats why I am going. I want to do what I came to do. I dont want to go just for sports.
Love: You need an education. Football and other things can carry you only so far. Football should be the backup plan. I want to be prepared for the rest of my life. I want to be taught. I want to learn.
Q: How hard is it to take a loss?
Hines: If you play for three hours and you get hit on every play, it sucks to lose. It really sucks worse if you fumble or make a mistake and let your team down and it leads to the loss. That is about the worst feeling. But it is a real team effort. Youve got to know it is the team that wins and the team that loses.
L ove: I hate losing. It is the worst feeling ever. But at the same time, you have to understand that to be successful in life you have to learn from mistakes. Losing can be a learning experience. This year, we lost three games, entered the playoffs as a 12th seed and reached the finals. I dont know if we would have reached the finals if we had gone undefeated. We learned something in every loss.
Frasier: The last game we lost, to James Kenan, was terrible. You look at the seniors and feel so sorry for them. For them, it is all over.
Q: When did you start playing football?
Hines: I was six and was playing against 9-year-olds.
Love: I was 6, but I played flag football. I didnt want to be a running back. I wanted to hit people. I like playing offense and defense.
Frasier: I had played a half of a season in pee wees, but I had asthma and a heart murmur so I didnt play again until I got to high school. I had to do a lot of tests. They took me to Duke and I had to run on a treadmill for an hour and 30 minutes while they were doing tests. Then they cleared me. The hole in my heart had closed.
Q: How important is your college decision?
Frasier: Huge. It determines where you are going to live for the next four years.
Hines: It is the biggest decision of my life so far. I really want to get an education. This is a decision not just for the next four or five years. It is for the rest of my life. I want to get prepared for the rest of my life.
Love: People tell me it is the biggest decision of my life. I want to go somewhere where Id be happy without football and where Id have a good time and get a great education. Its not just a football decision. Wherever I go, I want a real education.
Q: What do you want to do after football?
Frasier: I dont know yet, but I know I want to do something to help people.
Hines: I love CSI. Maybe something in forensic science. Maybe an athletic trainer. I took sports medicine in school and really enjoyed it.
Love: I want to do something in genetics. I want to be able to help people and genetics could be a way.