Truthfully, keep it a friendship. Adults have little success with relationships such as this and they have advantages such as being able to visit that you don't have. I'm not being negative, but your young and you have tons of time for a boy; you need to be free to be yourself and grow without the restrictions this relationship will bring.
You should continue liking him but make sure that you do not let anything affect your study as well as his even if he is in a different state. It is prudent to engage in a serious relationship after you are done with your studies and passed to get employed.
I'm a little concerned with this question. How do you know this 8th grader? Have you ever spoken on the phone with this person, or exchanged pictures? Do your parents know? I know I'm asking more questions to your question. You see people go onto these MySpace pages and Facebook sights and they meet somebody they think they know. And it turns out they didn't really know, and they go missing and are killed. No, I don't think you should have any type of relationship with somebody your parent's can't meet. Think about your "relationship" while thinking that every 3 seconds a child is taken, and never seen again.