DeStefano, an ESPNU 150 player coming out of Dorman High School in Spartanburg, S.C., redshirted as a freshman last season. This year, he played in each of the first two games, with 13 snaps against then-No. 5 Georgia as a tight end and 58 plays at tackle against South Carolina State.
Coach Dabo Swinney said DeStefano will remain on scholarship and will continue to be a part of the program.
"I am very disappointed to announce that Patrick DeStefano will no longer play football here," Swinney said in a release. "Over the last couple of weeks he has had a problem with 'stingers' and they just weren't going away. He had a lot of tests on his neck and shoulders, had discussions with doctors and decided it was best for his future that he give up football.
"I really hate to hear this because I think he was on his way to becoming a great player. He was really doing well. It is a shame, but it is the right decision."
DeStefano was ranked as the 115th-best overall player in his recruiting class by ESPN.com. He played in the Shrine Bowl and in the Under Armour All-America game.