Due to the recent loss on the Tar Heels' coaching staff, UNC will be playing a little catch-up with these highly regarded in-state recruits.
"The guy that recruited this area for North Carolina [Hal Hunter], he took another job and they haven't reassigned anyone yet," said Grooms. "We sent them a tape last week and they still need to evaluate it. Once our kids hear back from them, I'm sure the interest will be reciprocated."
Sturdivant is probably the most sought after recruit among the three (both he and Rivers are in Scout.com's N.C. Class of 2007 Top 5). Currently, the 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive tackle owns offers from Georgia, Florida, NC State, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Wake Forest, with more tenders definitely expected.
On the other hand, Rivers, a 6-foot 220-pound linebacker, is the more accomplished of the trio. Last season, Rivers earned Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors after recording over 130 tackles.
"He's got the linebacker mold – he's 6-foot and 220 pounds," said Grooms. "He's such a great leader, a great competitor, and a great athlete, too. He's probably been the best player on our team since he's been in the ninth grade."
Rivers' offers list currently includes Virginia, NC State, South Carolina, Penn State, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech.
Although he owns the shorter of the offers lists – just South Carolina and Virginia Tech - Bowman is the most versatile of the threesome. The 5-foot-11, 162-pound athlete earned his second all-conference selection after rushing for 1,204 yards and eight touchdowns.
Overwhelmed by all the sudden attention, Rivers, Sturdivent, and Bowman are completely wide open. To help their recruitment, Grooms will double as a chauffer this spring and summer.
"We're going to visit as many campuses as we can," said Grooms. "If they find a place where they are comfortable, I don't know if they'll wait until Signing Day [to commit]. It just depends on when they feel at home with somebody."
In addition to a trip to Chapel Hill, Grooms plans to escort his players to the campuses of Virginia, South Carolina, Wake Forest, NC State, and Georgia. For the most part, these visits won't be summer camps.
"We're probably going to hit just mainly junior days and unofficial visits just to see some campuses," said Grooms. "We'll do some seven-on-seven camps on some college campuses, but unless they came to us and say ‘Hey Coach I want to go to this one-day camp," we're not going to push them to attend camps."
The combination of growing up together and going through the recruiting process together might lead to a possible package deal.
"I don't know for sure, they really haven't said [they wanted to play together in college]," said Grooms. "I'm sure they've talked amongst themselves. I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't factor into their plans. I'd be shocked if at least two didn't go to the same place."
In addition to dealing with the strains of recruiting, Grooms and his staff must also worry about the hefty expectations a roster including multiple Division I-A recruits brings.
"Ever since this class was in the seventh grade it has been tabbed as the special class – not just those three, [the class] is very deep," said Grooms. "Our staff has been together here for four years and we've seen a steady progression. We expect to win next year."
As expected, Anson County, which went 8-5 last year, is one of the favorites in the 3A class for the 2006 season.