The football career of UNC offensive lineman Aaron Stahl is over, the school announced Thursday.
Stahl, who graduated in May but had one season of eligibility remaining, started six games and played in all 13 for the Tar Heels in 2008. He broke his thumb in the fourth game of the season and switched from center to guard. He missed all of spring practice with a shoulder injury.
"I earned my degree from a great university," Stahl said in a statement released by the school. "[N]ow it's time for me to move forward with the next phase of my life."
Stahl was a candidate to start at left guard in '09, despite the missed time in spring practice. Redshirt freshman Jonathan Cooper and converted defensive end Greg Elleby are considered his likely replacements at left guard.
Despite the loss, UNC still returns three starters on its offensive line.
Stahl's decision frees up a needed scholarship for the 2009 season. UNC coach Butch Davis signed 28 recruits in the spring. With Stahl's exit, the Heels have 25 available scholarships.
"I understand Aaron's decision and appreciate all of his hard work and effort to make us a better football program," Davis said in a statement released by the school. "He was a versatile player, and when he was injured last year, he helped the team by moving to another position."