Blake Bone can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. Almost.
That's a good thing, he says.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Woodruff High wide receiver named a top four on Monday that included - in no order - South Carolina, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Louisville.
"Those are my four for a reason," he said. "Those aren't just four I picked out of nowhere. Each of those teams has a possibility of picking me up as a recruit."
A narrower focus will make the final weeks of the recruiting process easier and more fun, Bone said. It also will mean fewer phone calls and text messages, and a chance to get to know the four schools and coaches better.
He has been to all four schools at least once and would like to visit each again this summer. Bone wants to have his decision made by sometime in August, he said.
"It's not important for me to just 'get it out of the way,' " he said. "It's important for it to be the right time, to not stall around."
Rivals rates Bone a four-star prospect and the eight-best player in South Carolina for the class of 2014.
He is the No. 64 wide receiver in the nation and No. 15 prospect in the state, according to 247Composite, which factors in all network rankings.
Bone caught 125 passes for 2,207 yards and 24 touchdowns in his sophomore and junior seasons.
Shawn Elliott and Steve Spurrier Jr. are recruiting Bone for the Gamecocks.
Here's what else he had to say about his recruitment.
Q: You Tweeted on Thursday that - 'My mind's been crazy lately with all the different thoughts I have' - was that recruiting related?
"It's recruiting and all these colleges and how recruiting has blew up for me the past couple months. It's a good feeling but it can be stressful at times. That's why I went ahead and got a top four out so I can refocus on my season in high school because I have a lot of ball left to play."
Q: Other than your height, what makes you a good receiver?
"Route running, good hands. You've got to be able to go to get it, catch the ball in traffic. It's more about the little things - starts, stops. Creating separation form DBs, that's big. Colleges are looking for that. If you put all that together you have a pretty good receiver."
Q: Did you ever imagine being in the recruiting spotlight?
"My freshman year I broke my collarbone. I thought I would get out of football. I never thought I'd be in the situation I am in now. Over the years I have gotten better. Colleges have come by to see me. I would have never expected this a few years ago. It's a great feeling to have. I am very blessed."
Q: Your top four tells me you're not afraid to go out of state.
"Oh, no, definitely not. I'm not one of those homegrown kids that has to be around family. I'm trying to find the best college that will best fit me offense-wise, production, depth chart-wise and eventually help me reach my dreams of making it to the league."
Q: Can you break down your top four for me?
"South Carolina, they were my first offer and that was big for me. They were the first college to go out on a limb and have faith in me. That meant a lot. I talk to [Coach Elliott] on a daily basis. He messaged me about the Heat game. He's a guy that will relate to you about everything. He's pretty cool to hang out with. He's a great guy. He'll keep in contact with you, especially if he likes you. It's a great feeling to have. ...
"Ole Miss is a pretty great school, beautiful campus. Me and [receivers coach Grant Heard] got off on a pretty good start in the recruiting process. He's a great guy, easy to talk to. ...
"Kentucky, I actually have family in Lexington. It's a beautiful state also. They've got a whole new staff from Texas Tech and they're in the air raid offense now. They've got the No. 1 or No. 2 recruiting class in the nation. That's big, of course. ...
"Last but not least, Louisville, they've got a whole bunch of great guys there and they know how to win and that's important. They're in a pro-style offense so it helps receivers learn more than just going out there and catching balls. It helps you run a route tree and helps develop you as a receiver."