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July 4, 2009Alabama linebacker Charlie Kirschman will not return to the Crimson Tide football team this fall, a source close to the situation has told BamaOnLine.com.
Kirschman (6-2, 228 pounds) did not figure into the Crimson Tide's playing rotation but has drawn praise in the past from UA coach Nick Saban for his work on the scout team. Kirschman has already earned an undergraduate degree from the university. He signed with the Crimson Tide in 2006 out of Ponte Vedra Beach (Fla.) Nease High after making an early commitment to then-coach Mike Shula over offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech, Purdue, Louisville and others.
Kirschman practiced at outside linebacker and would have been a fourth-year junior this fall. He was not immediately available for comment.
In what has become the season for roster attrition, news of Kirschman's decision comes after a Mobile Press-Register report that reserve offensive lineman Evan Cardwell also does not plan to return to the UA football team this fall. Cardwell, of Killen (Ala.) Brooks High, worked primarily at center in his UA career and would have been a senior this fall. Like Kirschman, he also has already earned a degree.
Cardwell's most extensive playing time came in 2007, when injuries and suspensions thrust him into a starting role for much of the season. Following the suspension of then-starting center Antoine Caldwell, Cardwell stepped in and started at center on short notice in a 41-17 home win over Tennessee. Cardwell endured back pain that limited him at times during his career, though he navigated spring drills without missing a practice. William Vlachos and David Ross handled most of the center snaps in the spring.
With the departures of Cardwell and Kirschman, there are 72 players believed to be on scholarship for 2009, not including incoming freshmen. More attrition is expected as UA has more than 20 signees on campus and faces a scholarship roster limit of 85 that must be met in time for fall camp. At least one more scholarship could be made available from the special teams, as a BOL source has indicated kicker Leigh Tiffin - who was placed on scholarship for last season - may return to non-scholarship status for his final season at the Capstone.
Neither UA officials nor Saban have confirmed the status of Cardwell, Kirschman, or linebacker Jennings Hester, who was reported to have accepted a medical release several weeks ago. Saban has confirmed two transfers since spring practice, however, those of linebacker Prince Hall (Central Washington) and kicker Corey Smith, who subsequently enrolled at West Virginia.