Some 2,000 people gathered Sunday to celebrate the life of former Maryville High School and University of Tennessee football standout Aaron Douglas.
A freshman All-America offensive tackle with the Vols in 2009, Douglas was found dead Thursday morning in Fernandina Beach, Fla. He was 21. The cause of death is pending.
Douglas played for one season at UT before transferring to Arizona Western College, where he played his sophomore year. The 6-foot-7, 275-pound junior was set to return this year to the Southeastern Conference with the University of Alabama, where he had just finished spring practice.
Among those attending the memorial service at Cokesbury United Methodist Church in West Knoxville were Alabama head coach Nick Saban and former UT coaches Phillip Fulmer and Johnny Majors.
"He was a big guy and that was intimidating, but once you got past that he had a big heart," Erica Linginfelter, Douglas' former Maryville High classmate and athletic trainer, said outside the standing-room-only service Sunday.
Douglas' cousin Scott Gann of Scottsboro, Ala., said the turnout at Sunday's celebration of life was a testament to the family member who loved to play backyard football as a boy and who, as a man, received near-constant attention on and off the field for his playing.
"He was a fan favorite," Gann said.
Sign a guest book for Aaron Douglas.