One of Northern California's biggest strengths - arguably its biggest of all - is the defensive line led by five-star defensive tackle Aziz Shittu and four-star defensive ends Arik Armstead and Pio Vatuvei. It's an outstanding group that could challenge any offensive line class.
If there was any year where an argument could be made for Northern California it would be this one especially because it is so strong across the defensive line. A fine bunch of quarterbacks with a strong group of running backs, wide receivers and tight ends carries Northern California over the top.
Coming off a dominating performance in the 2010 CBG's the fans of NorCal football have to be flying high. Not only that but the preseason grades of the two very different areas of the state have come back top-heavy in favor of NorCal with Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep and Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove grabbing the top three spots in the state. The early evaluations of Southern California have been down across the board and that leads many to expect another strong season from teams north of the fertile valley. The Pac 5 in the Southern Section is always going to be a national power and whichever team represents that grouping will be among the best nationally, but entering the season there is no clear favorite, instead a cluster of solid programs battling for that distinction. While the tide hasn't fully pushed to NorCal - largely based on raw numbers it never will - the top tier of team talent is sliding that way.