Aaron Stahl, a UNC offensive lineman, elected to forego his final season of eligibility in the upcoming season, a UNC spokesman announced Thursday.

In May, Stahl graduated with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science.

‘I appreciate everything coach [Butch] Davis and his staff have done for me over the last two and a half years,” Stahl said in a press release. ‘I earned my degree from a great University, enjoyed living in Chapel Hill and now it’s time for me to move forward with the next phase of my life.”

Stahl’s departure has a larger significance after Davis over signed the 25 player scholarship limit in the spring, a practice that has attracted criticism due to the possibility that a recruit can be left without a scholarship. This frees up an additional scholarship, which will allow an additional recruit to come on board.

Stahl played in every game last season and started at center before breaking his thumb against Miami, which caused him to shift to the guard position instead. He had surgery on his shoulder in January and missed spring practices.

‘I understand Aaron’s decision and appreciate all of his hard work and effort to make us a better football program,” Davis said. ‘He was a versatile player, and when he was injured last year, he helped the team by moving to another position. “