Doolittle says that based on several other cases that have been decided this year with players being granted a sixth-year of eligibility by an NCAA committee, he has high hopes he will be able to play this fall for Coach Tommy Tuberville's Tigers.
Last August, as the defensive tackle was at practice preparing for his redshirt senior season, he suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury. He is still not recovered from that, but has been working to get ready to play football again.
"The doctor hasn't fully cleared me," Doolittle says. "I am doing treadmill and pool work so I am still waiting on getting back to 100 percent."
The football player is also waiting on what he hopes will be a positive outcome of his appeal for a sixth season of eligibility. Injuries severely limited his playing time after signing with the Tigers out of Opelika High in February of 2003.
"I have been waiting for about a month now," he says. "I am waiting for the NCAA to send my appeal papers back. I know it is going to be back about two weeks."
Doolittle, who attended classes into December after being injured in August, says he has been rehabbing since then, but is not taking classes at AU this semester. He says he plays to re-enroll for summer session classes that begin in May.
Coach Tommy Tuberville says that if Doolittle is cleared for another season the Tigers will put him back on scholarship and the coach is hoping the defensive lineman will get a chance to finish what he started last year before suffering the serious injury.
Doolittle makes a tackle during the 2006 season.
The lineman notes that he is currently close to his playing size of 6-3, 298 pounds. "I weigh 293 now," he says.
Doolittle, who can play both inside defensive line positions, was pushing for a starting assignment last year when he was injured even though there was major competition from Josh Thompson and Pat Sims. However, noseguard Thompson has graduated and Sims, a junior tackle last fall, has declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft.
Doolittle says he is not making any assumptions that he will be a starter for the Tigers if he is cleared to play this fall, but says that is his goal. "I am telling those guys look out," he says with a big smile.