Travis Bond, the massive 6-foot-7, 330-pound four-star offensive tackle from Bertie High School in Windsor, N.C., has narrowed his choices to four with a new school in the mix.
Bond, ranked as the No. 16 offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com, still denies a favorite and now likes Michigan, North Carolina State, East Carolina and North Carolina. All have offered.
The Pirates have replaced Virginia Tech in his top four. So what happened with the Hokies? "I guess they backed out or something," he said vaguely. "I don't know how it works, but I think they ran out of scholarships or something like that."
So now Bond will be visiting East Carolina on Jan. 19 instead. "They are close to home," he said. "And I like the offensive line coach (Steve Shankweiler) a lot. He's a real down-to-earth coach and gets to the point. He's just real straight up.
"Coach Shank told me that I could play early," Bond said. "He says I have great feet and likes how physical I play."
Following his visit to Greenville, N.C., Bond will be heading to Chapel Hill to visit North Carolina officially (on Jan. 26). "North Carolina had a great season," he said. "They are still getting better.
"So is North Carolina State," he said. "They played great against UNC and beat them pretty easily."
He just visited the Wolfpack on Nov. 29. "I liked how well I got along with the players and coaches," Bond said of his experience. "We talked a lot. I spent a lot of time talking with both the players and coaches.
"They said they see me being a first year starter," he said.
Bond's player host was (redshirt freshman) offensive guard Desmond Roberts. "He was cool," he said. "He told me the most important thing is to make sure I go somewhere that fits me and my lifestyle and make sure I actually like being there."
Apparently, North Carolina State fits the bill as he rated the visit a 10. "It was great," he siad. "It was cool getting to know everyone better and know what it's like being a player there. A lot of people were gone because of Thanksgiving, but it was still fun.
"I know a lot of guys over there already," he said. "They recruit a lot of guys from around here, so I pretty much knew them all."
The only other visit that Bond has already taken was to Michigan (Oct. 25) and the Wolverines also earned a perfect 10. "I didn't know as many players at Michigan (compared to North Carolina State), but it was still fun. I was very comfortable with them."
Bond visited the Wolverines for their Michigan State game. "I think next year will be better," he said. "They are getting a lot of good players that should fit the system better."
He says he won't make a decision until late January. "It's kind of close right now," he said. "They are all giving me a lot of attention and they all have everything I'm looking for. I think it'll just come down to what feels most like how.
"I really want to feel like the players are my brothers, not just teammates," he said. "It's really important to me."
Bond says he wants to major in business and reports a 3.0 core GPA and a 1060 SAT, which he's retaking on Dec. 6.