published Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Douglas funeral Sunday

By Michael Casagrande

Plans for a memorial were set a day after the shocking death of Alabama football player Aaron Douglas, a former Tennessee player and son of former Rhea County and UT standout David Douglas.

Aaron grew up in Maryville, Tenn., and his funeral service has been set for 7 p.m. Sunday at the Cokesbury Center on Kingston Pike in Knoxville. It will be open to the public.

The 21-year-old offensive lineman was found dead Thursday morning in Fernandina Beach, Fla., and the investigation there is continuing.

Fernandina Beach police chief James T. Hurley told a local television station Thursday that his “preliminary guess” was drugs and/or alcohol contributed to Douglas’ death, but autopsy results were pending. All Hurley added Friday was that a report from the medical examiner was expected in “about 10 days.”

Douglas was found dead on the balcony of a private residence the morning after attending a party by invitation of two unidentified Fernandina Beach women.

The shock of Douglas’ sudden death is still being felt in Alabama.

Just as they did Thursday, teammates used Twitter.com to post tributes to their new teammate. He transferred to Alabama in January from an Arizona junior college and participated in spring practices.

“Thinking about my boi @80Fresh,” punter Cody Mandell posted, referencing Douglas by his Twitter handle. “I already miss you brudduh. #RIPAD.”

Douglas was a Freshman All-American at Tennessee in 2009. He transferred to Arizona Western College last season and was competing for a starting job with the Crimson Tide this spring.

A former girlfriend, Darbi Lou Todd of Florence, Ala., said Douglas “was a great guy. He was really caring.”

“I was just blessed to be his friend,” said the daughter of former Alabama quarterback Richard Todd. “He cared about a lot of people. He had a lot of people who cared for him.”

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