He took a redshirt his freshman season and moved to offensive tackle in Lane Kiffin’s lone season with the Vols, starting 10 games that year. Soon after Kiffin left and Tennessee hired Derek Dooley, Douglas asked for a release from his scholarship.
Douglas cited personal problems and depression from the pressure of playing close to home and for his parents’ alma mater. His father, David Douglas, was an offensive lineman for the Vols, and his mother, Karla Horton Douglas, was a Lady Volunteers basketball player.
“No one can understand the pain that a family must endure after the loss of a child,” Dooley said. “My prayers go out to David and Karla and everyone who was close to Aaron.”
Dooley had granted Douglas‘ release on condition he did not play football for a program within an eight-hour radius of Knoxville for the first season after his departure.
Douglas joined some former Maryville teammates at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz., before he and teammate Jesse Williams signed with Alabama.
“It’s a tragedy and all my prayers go out to him and his family,” Arizona Western coach Tom Minnick said. “He was a great kid. He came in during the summer and helped our young kids out and was a leader on the field and off the field and did everything we asked him to do.
“He will be truly missed.”
Minnick said Douglas would often stop by the football offices to say hello and talk about the coaches’ plans for the day. He said Douglas‘ parents came to games and remarked on their son’s maturation.
“They praised us and said, ‘Coach, he wasn’t like this when he was down there (in Tennessee). He’s grown up. He’s going to school and doing what he’s supposed to do,’” Minnick said.
AP Sports Writer Beth Rucker in Knoxville, Tenn., contributed to this report.