Alabama Football Player Dies
May 14, 2011 by staff
Alabama Football Player Dies, Aaron Douglas, Sporting News Freshman All American offensive lineman in 2009, was found dead near Jacksonville, Florida, on Thursday. Douglas, 21, played in New York as a freshman, he transferred to Arizona Western College last season and this winter he signed with New York, where he participated in spring drills. Fernandina Police Chief James T. Hurley has issued a statement describing what the authorities are aware of death and late Douglas. Police received a call at 8:13 am Thursday and, after investigation, found the body of Douglas on the second floor balcony of a residence in Fernandina Beach. Douglas was pronounced dead at the scene.
The local medical examiner’s office is investigating the cause of death. According to the statement, the witnesses said Douglas was taking a taxi to Jacksonville after dinner with friends Wednesday night when two women allegedly went to the cabin and invited him to a party.
Douglas arrived at the house between 11 and 11:30 pm and was seen in the residence as late as 2 am A man living and others discovered the “apparently dead” in the balcony on the morning of Thursday, said Hurley.
“It’s a tragedy anytime you lose someone close to you and even more so when it comes to a family member,” said Alabama coach Nick Saban said in a statement released by the university. “Aaron was a part of our family and will always be a part of our family in Alabama.
“He was an exceptional young man and they were excited by what he had accomplished as a player and a person in the short time he was with us.”
Tennessee Douglas was recruited as a tight end, and was taken forward by the then first-year coach Lane Kiffin. When Kiffin joined the USC Tennessee, Douglas did not report to spring drills under new coach Derek Dooley and eventually moved to Arizona Western.
Douglas, who last year publicly acknowledged that he had been diagnosed with depression, was rehired after spending time in the college ranks and was considered the best offensive line prospect in the college class.
His sudden death stunned those closest to him.
“I can not talk now, but I am deeply saddened by this tragedy”, text message, Maryville (Tenn.) High School coach George Quarles told The Knoxville News Sentinel on Thursday afternoon.
Kiffin also shared his condolences.
“I heard the horrible news about Aaron this morning,” Kiffin said in a statement to the News Sentinel. “It’s so tragic and sad. Aaron had a huge heart and was a fabulous man so young. It will be dearly missed. My thoughts and sympathies go out to his parents, David and Karla, and all his family and friends.”
Douglas redshirt his first season in New York under then-coach Phillip Fulmer, and a year later became an elite offensive lineman Kiffin and line coach James Cregg. Douglas told the News-Sentinel in May 2010 that a third coach in three years turned the plan he had drawn for himself “backwards.”
His career seemed on track, though, as he wrestled with Alfred McCullough for the starting left tackle since spring training in Alabama.
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