UGa soccer player killed in shipwreck after title celebration

Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and a recruiting staff member were killed early Sunday in a car accident, the school said, just hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their second straight national championship with a parade and a ceremony.

Two other members of the football program were injured in the crash, which happened in Athens, south of the Georgia campus. They were not immediately identified, but the school said both were in stable condition.

The single-vehicle wreckage occurred around 2:45 a.m., according to a statement from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.

On Saturday, Georgia marked its 65-7 rout of TCU in the national championship game with a parade through town and a ceremony at Sanford Stadium.

The initial investigation revealed that a Ford Expedition “left the roadway, striking two utility poles and several trees,” the statement said.

Willock, 20, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle, Chandler LeCroy, 24, was taken to hospital, where she died of her injuries.

LeCroy was a recruiting analyst for the Bulldogs.

“We are all heartbroken and devastated by the loss of Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in a statement. “Devin was an exceptional young man in every way. He was always smiling, was a great teammate and a joy to coach.

Smart said LeCroy was “a valuable member of our football team and brought incredible attitude and energy every day. We mourn this tragic loss with their families and will support them in any way we can. »

Police said the wreckage is still under investigation and have not determined what factors may have contributed to the accident. It may take several days for a report to be published.

“The entire Georgia family is devastated by the tragic loss of football student-athlete Devin Willock and football staff member Chandler LeCroy,” the school statement read. “Devin and Chandler were two special people who meant so much to the University of Georgia, our football program and our athletics department. We ask everyone to keep their families in your prayers during this very difficult time.”

Willock was a 6-foot-7, 335-pound redshirt sophomore from New Milford, New Jersey.

He played a lot as a backup during the 2022 season and started at right guard in the Southeastern Conference wins over Tennessee and Kentucky.

With linemen Warren McClendon and Warren Ericson declaring themselves for the NFL Draft, Willock likely would have competed for a starting position in 2023 as the Bulldogs go for a third consecutive national title.

Police say a 21-year-old passenger was slightly injured and a 26-year-old female passenger was seriously injured. Neither the school nor the police released their identities, but Georgia’s statement said “we will continue to monitor their status with medical personnel.”

Georgia also said its mental health and performance staff will “ensure that we provide the best support possible to our staff and to the student-athletes dealing with this grief.”

Hours before his death, Willock retweeted a post that showed him hanging out with a young Georgia fan at what appeared to be a restaurant, even letting the youngster wear his championship ring.

“Special thanks to @DevinWillock for taking time for my grandson when he didn’t need it,” the tweet read. “You went out of your way to make him feel special and you made his day!! Good luck next year! Come on Dawgs!

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AP College Football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25




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