Rumors have been swirling all morning -- and are just now beginning to be acknowledged by reputable sources like Josh Ward, former Alabama QB Greg McElroy, and, most recently, GVX -- that former Tennessee offensive lineman Aaron Douglas died late last night or early this morning in Jacksonville, FL. Horrible, horrible news, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
Details are scarce, so we'll have to update as they become available, but there were unreported rumors of problems around the time that Douglas left Tennessee, and there was a bit of trouble with a DUI last December, all of which looks completely different today in hindsight.
Douglas signed with Tennessee under Phillip Fulmer after a great career at Maryville High School. He was Tennessee's Mr. Football (for linemen) twice. He red-shirted in 2008, but played extremely well as a red-shirt freshman in 2009 under Lane Kiffin.
Douglas would have been the only lineman with any real experience in 2010, but asked for a release to transfer when Derek Dooley arrived, having never bought in to the new staff. Dooley released him, but because Douglas had told Dooley that he thought his undisclosed problems were because he was too close to home, Dooley said he could transfer only to a school that was at least an eight hour drive away. Douglas chose to go to Arizona Western Community College and then enrolled at Alabama this year with the intention of playing for the Tide this fall.
It was shaping up to be a particularly fun rivalry, with the star local kid signing with the home team only to leave for its oldest rival. But rivalries aside, Aaron Douglas was a Knoxville kid from a Tennessee family, and to say that it is a sad day just seems so inadequate.