NORTH PLAINFIELD- High school football players across the nation made the most important decision of their young athletic careers yesterday during National Signing Day, and one of North Plainfield’s own took part in it and signed his way onto an NCAA program.

North Plainfield High School football player Matthew Bordfeld signed a letter of intent yesterday to officially play for Mercyhurst University in the next college football season.

The senior outside linebacker was surrounded by friends, family, and NPHS faculty, including school principal Dr. Jerard Stephenson and head football coach Mark Ciccotelli, as he signed the contract to get a full scholarship to the Division II school.

Sign Up for E-News

For Bordfeld, the signing was a vindication of the countless hours he’s dedicated to his craft.

“ It makes me feel like all the hard work I put in over the years that nobody ever saw wasn’t a waste, and it really paid off for something,” Bordfeld said after the signing. “And everything I believed about the system turned out to be true.”

Bordfeld was a defensive leader for the Canucks last season, regularly picking up sacks and tackles for loss. In one game, against Monmouth Regional, he picked up three sacks. Even with statistics like those, Ciccotelli says it’s Bordfeld’s stand-up character that makes him a great choice for Mercyhurst.

“He’s a throwback type kid,” the coach said. “Great work ethic, a student of the game, everything you’d want a good football player to be. Beyond that, and first and foremost, he’s a really good human being. He’s a role model type of kid. A great student and everything a student-athlete should be.”

Mercyhurst first took an interest in Bordfeld after they signed a coach who had previously seen some of the OLB’s plays. Soon after, Bordfeld took a trip to the Erie, Pennsylvania college’s campus, and it didn’t take long for him to realize it was a good fit for him.

“I fell in love with the campus the first time I walked on it,” Bordfeld said. “I was sold on it.”

Bordfeld says he expects his first year of NCAA football to be a humbling experience, but he also he hopes to learn quickly and make an impact on his future team as soon as possible.

Even as he prepares to make his move to Mercyhurst, Bordfeld remains grateful for the relationships he’s built playing for the Canucks.

“I’d do anything for (coach Ciccotelli), and I know he’d do anything for me,” Bordfeld said. “I have his back, and I know he has mine. The only way to put it is that we’re family.”