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National Signing Day: Cal, Stanford Cap Off 2011 College Football Recruiting

While the NFL is wrapping up its season with the 2011 Super Bowl, college football is gearing up for arguably its biggest day of the entire offseason. In a few minutes it will be Wednesday February 2, which happens to be known as National Signing Day. It's also Groundhog Day but I think Punxsutawney Phil long ago committed to the entire state of Pennsylvania.

The Bay Area will have plenty of action today as the California Golden Bears and Stanford Cardinal will both be looking to haul in talented recruiting classes. As of this post ranks Cal 16th and Stanford 20th in the entire nation. It's a big year for the Pac-10 (soon to be Pac-12) as ranks USC 5th, Oregon 11th, and Washington 13th. Not too shabby for the growing conference.

California's current recruiting class includes five prospects from the ESPNU Top 150. ESPN ranked Cal 15th in the nation in large part because of the defensive firepower in this year's class:

Safety Avery Walls (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian Academy) is one of the more explosive and productive safeties in the country and is instinctive enough to see early playing time. Defensive tackleTodd Barr (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood) and outside linebackerJason Gibson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) are disruptive front-seven defenders who fit well into Cal's 3-4 defensive scheme.

For more on the latest Cal recruiting news, head on over to California Golden Blog's recruiting section.

The Stanford Cardinal have a highly touted class but have had to deal with the issues related to Jim Harbaugh's departure to coach the 49ers. A major problem in college sports is many prospects commit because of a pitch from a certain coach. When the coach decides to leave, his recruits do not have nearly as many options after the fact. Some folks have changed their minds about Stanford, but they've still landed a solid recruiting class thus far.

ESPN ranks Stanford at 18th in the country in part because of impressive depth in the class thus far. The class is led by 44th ranked prospect ILB James Vaughters and the 71st ranked player in the country in safety Wayne Lyons. We'll have more on the Cardinal but you can also check out all the nitty gritty details at Rule of Tree.