UGA football player from NJ, staff killed in crash after celebration
A University of Georgia football player from New Milford, New Jersey, and a team staff member have been killed in a crash just hours after their national championship celebration.
Offensive lineman 20-year-old Devin Willock was killed early Sunday morning, according to the Athens-Clark County police in Georgia. He was riding passenger in a 2021 Ford Expedition around 2:45 a.m. when it left the road and crashed. Police said the vehicle struck two utility poles and several trees.
Willock, a 6-foot-7, 335-pound backup, played throughout the season for the undefeated No. 1 Bulldogs, including in their 65-7 dominating win over TCU on Monday night for back-to-back NCAA championship titles. The sophomore also started in key wins over Tennessee and Kentucky.
Before attending UGA, Willock played for two years for his local high school in New Milford before he transferred to Paramus Catholic. He graduated as part of the Class of 2020. Paramus Catholic said in a statement on social media that its community was "devastated" by his passing.
The driver of the Ford, recruiting analyst 24-year-old Chandler LeCroy, was taken to the hospital for her injuries where she died. Two other passengers, a 21-year-old male and a 26-year-old female, were injured.
UGA Head Football Coach Kirby Smart mourned the deaths of Willock and LeCroy in a statement Sunday.
"Devin was an outstanding young man in every way. 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.”
Hours before his death, Willock was spotted taking time with a young fan in a restaurant and letting the child wear his championship ring. The fan's grandfather posted their pictures to Twitter.
"U went out of ur way to make him feel special and U made his day!! Good luck next year! Go Dawgs!" the grandfather said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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