Last updated: February 17. 2013 9:24AM - 61 Views

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They told Ryan Cordingly the pain coming from his knee was caused by a partial tear.

That news almost tore his heart out.

This is a linebacker who doesn‚??t like leaving the football field for even a single play. So it staggered him facing the prospect of missing more than a month.

‚??It‚??s been a long five weeks,‚?Ě Cordingly said.

His wait is over.

One of the most active tacklers on the King‚??s College Monarchs will make his return Saturday against Delaware Valley ‚?? but only because Cordingly worked relentlessly to get back to action quickly.

He suffered his knee injury in the second game of his senior season, and wasn‚??t about to linger on the sideline.

The son of Ronald and Carla Cordingly of Berwick visited the Rehab Clinic nearly every day for the past month, trying to will himself back into playing shape. He spent the past four games helping tutor the younger players at King‚??s.

But none of that proved to be much of a substitute for crashing into ballcarriers.

That‚??s what he does best.

Known as the fiercest tackler on Berwick‚??s state playoff team in 2008, Cordingly has amassed 213 career tackles, 20 tackles for loss and four sacks at King‚??s ‚?? most of them coming during the past three years.

‚??He‚??s our best player, arguably,‚?Ě King‚??s coach Jeff Knarr said.

He‚??s even better in the classroom.

With a 3.963 GPA as a finance major, Cordingly was named to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-American second team. And last week, he was named as a semi-finalist for the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award.

‚??He‚??s what a student-athlete is,‚?Ě Knarr said. ‚??He excels in the classroom and he excels on the football field.‚?Ě

The academic end of it kept him at King‚??s.

‚??I can‚??t deny the academics that are provided at King‚??s College,‚?Ě Cordingly said.

Cordingly had other options out of Berwick, including offers from FCS programs.

‚??But money‚??s always a factor,‚?Ě Cordingly, 21, said. ‚??Coincidentally, my very last (recruiting) visit out of all the colleges was here. I just felt at home.‚?Ě

He was recruited by former King‚??s coach Rich Mannello and inserted into the team‚??s defensive starting lineup immediately as a freshman.

‚??He gave me my chance,‚?Ě Cordingly said.

But Mannello resigned following the 2008 season, some players departed the program with the coaching change.

Not Cordingly.

‚??Everybody wants to sit and talk about what they could have done and where I could have gone,‚?Ě Cordingly said. ‚??I‚??m glad to be here. It was a commitment I made to King‚??s College. I didn‚??t make a commitment to one particular coach.‚?Ě

The incoming coach quickly discovered Cordingly is the type of player who‚??d have little trouble excelling in any system.

‚??I remember when I came in to interview, he was on the (players‚?? panel of the search) committee,‚?Ě Knarr said. ‚??He didn‚??t say a word at the interview, kind of deferring to the older guys. But I said, ‚??They must think highly of him, to have him on the committee.‚?? He was a freshman.‚?Ě

Pretty soon, Cordingly will be searching for a new career.

He completed a summer executive internship with Target ‚?? ‚??Where I could see myself going,‚?Ě Cordingly said ‚?? and has already been offered a full-time job upon graduation in May.

For now, though, he can‚??t wait to get back to his old position on the football field this weekend.

‚??Getting back right now is the number one thing,‚?Ě Cordingly said.

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