UGA offensive lineman Devin Willock of New Milford dies in tragic car crash

Byby Mark Schlabach ESPN logo
Monday, January 16, 2023
UGA offensive lineman Devin Willock of New Milford dies in tragic car crash
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Georgia football player Devin Willock and a recruiting staff member were killed in a car wreck in Athens early Sunday morning, the university confirmed in a statement. Kemberly Richardson has more.

ATHENS, Georgia -- Georgia football player Devin Willock and a recruiting staff member were killed in a car wreck in Athens early Sunday morning, the university confirmed in a statement.

Willock, a redshirt sophomore from New Milford, New Jersey, started two games on the offensive line this past season. Recruiting staff member Chandler LeCroy was also killed, according to the university.

"The entire Georgia family is devastated by the tragic loss of football student-athlete Devin Willock and football staff member Chandler LeCroy," the university statement said. "Two other members of the football program were injured in the accident. They are both in stable condition, and we will continue to monitor their status with medical personnel.

"Devin and Chandler were two special people who meant so much to the University of Georgia, our football program and our athletic department. We ask that everyone keep their families in your prayers during this very difficult time."

He was always smiling, was a great teammate and a joy to coach. Chandler was a valuable member of our football staff and brought an incredible attitude and energy every single day. We grieve with their families for this tragic loss and will support them in every way possible," UGA Head Football Coach Kirby Smart said.

In a statement, Athens-Clarke County Police reported the single-vehicle accident occurred around 2:45 a.m. ET on Sunday. Police said the initial investigation indicated that a 2021 Ford Expedition left the road in the outside lane of Barnett Shoals Road and struck two power poles and several trees.

Police said Willock died at the scene. He was 20. LeCroy, who was driving, was transported to a local hospital by ambulance and died as a result of her injuries.

A 21-year-old male passenger sustained minor injuries, and a 26-year-old female passenger sustained serious injuries.

The wreck came hours after the Bulldogs celebrated winning back-to-back national championships with a parade and ceremony at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated TCU 65-7 in the College Football Playoff National Championship in Los Angeles on Monday night.

Sam Kramer told ABC News he ran into Willock at the Longhorn Steakhouse in Athens last night. He said after he recognized Willock and asked for a photo, Willock introduced himself to Kramer's grandson Camdyn and let the child borrow Willock's championship ring for the photo. "Devin's smile never left him. He talked to Camdyn for what seemed like forever," Kramer said.

Photo Courtesy of Sam Kramer
Sam Kramer

"The UGA Athletic Association will work with our medical team as well as our mental health and performance personnel to make sure we are providing the best support possible for our staff and student-athletes who are processing this grief," the university said in a statement. "We can provide no further comment at this time but ask that everyone continue to keep those involved in your prayers."

The 6-foot-7, 335-pound Willock played in all 15 games for the Bulldogs this past season, including starts at right guard in victories against Tennessee and Kentucky. He was ranked the No. 39 guard prospect in the country and No. 17 prospect in New Jersey by ESPN Recruiting as a senior at Paramus Catholic High School in 2020. The school released a statement on Sunday.

According to LeCroy's LinkedIn account, she had worked as a recruiting analyst at Georgia since May 2021. She had previously worked as a learning specialist and sports marketing promotions intern for the athletic association. A native of Toccoa, Georgia, LeCroy had received a bachelor's degree and master's degree in sports management and policy from UGA, according to her LinkedIn account.

ESPN contributed to this report.