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Top junior prospects revealed in Future247

The race is on for college coaching staffs around the country. As they continue to corral the best available high school seniors to strengthen their 2011 recruiting classes, it is becoming increasingly crucial for coaches to focus more of their attention on underclassmen. As teams begin to enter the latter half of their high school seasons, those high-priority juniors are emerging. As college coaches begin to identify the top prospects in the class of 2012, so too has 247Sports.

Warren Ball leads a group of four Ohio State commits in the Future247.

In the first release of the Future247, 247Sports has compiled a watch list of the top junior prospects in the nation.

The alphabetical list consists of players that are already receiving scholarship offers and making major commitments. It also includes players that may not have much fanfare yet, but certainly possess the talent that will draw coaches' attention in the coming months. In either case, these are the early names to know as the next wave of recruiting classes start to take shape.

Among the 247 names, a number of players have already made their college decisions - and Ohio State has cashed in early. The Buckeyes lead the way in the 2012 class with four commitments on the list. Running backs Warren Ball and Brionte Dunn, offensive tackle Kyle Kalis and linebacker Joshua Perry are Ohio State commits on the list - and all are in-state products.

Alabama and USC have strong showings on the initial Future247, with three commitments apiece. The Tide have landed two elite out-of-state products in Dakota Ball out of Georgia and Pensacola, Fla., product Eddie Williams. They are joined by Caleb Gulledge, who is part of a loaded 2012 class at in-state power Prattville.

The Trojans are not letting NCAA sanctions slow them down on the recruiting trail. USC has commitments from a pair of talented in-state receivers in Jordan Payton and Jaydon Mickens. Highly touted offensive lineman Arik Armstead has also committed to the Trojans.

The state breakdown is led by Florida with 34 representatives on the list. Predictably, Texas and California are right behind with 31 and 30 players, respectively, on the list.

The traditional runners-up to the big three states in talent are Georgia and Ohio. Georgia is represented by 21 players; led by its four Ohio State commitments, Ohio offers up 17 prospects.

Alabama looks to have a very strong group at the top for 2012, with 13 prospects already making our list. Several players from Alabama were also on the bubble.

Continued in-person evaluations, film review and updates are forthcoming on Future247 prospects as the recruiting process continues to pick up for this elite group of juniors.

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