Senior linebacker Cody Ippolito, who missed the second half of the 2016 season because of a knee injury, has been granted his release without restrictions from Arizona, the Star has learned.

This past season was Ippolito’s fifth, but he missed two full years because of knee surgeries. As such, he can apply for a sixth year.

Ippolito recently met with Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez, who expressed concern about Ippolito suffering a fourth torn ACL while at the UA. However, Rodriguez allowed Ippolito to reach out to any school of his choosing, including those in the Pac-12.

Ippolito and his family already have done so. The schools include Utah, Arizona State and UCLA.

Ippolito, who missed the 2015 season, started five of the first six games at middle linebacker before getting hurt Oct. 8 at Utah. Ippolito finished 2016 with 28 tackles, including four stops for losses (1.5 sacks), and two fumble recoveries.

Ippolito’s departure means Arizona will lose four linebackers who played significant snaps: Michael Barton, Paul Magloire Jr., Jake Matthews and Ippolito. Magloire and Barton ranked first and third on the team in tackles. Barton had a team-high eight stops for losses, including three sacks.