College Football mourns Georgia’s loss of Willock, LeCroy

A weekend celebrating Georgia’s second straight national college football championship turned tragic early Sunday morning when redshirt offensive lineman sophomore Devin Willock and athletic department staffer Chandler LeCroy died in a car accident.

Willock had posted videos of the parade in Athens, which preceded the formal ceremony at Sanford Stadium, on social media on Saturday afternoon.

“We are all heartbroken and devastated by the loss of Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in a statement. ‚ÄúDevin was an outstanding young man in every way. He was always smiling, was a great teammate and a pleasure to coach. Chandler was a valuable member of our football team and brought incredible attitude and energy to it every day.

“We mourn this tragic loss with their families and will support them in any way we can.”

Willock, a 6-foot-7, 335-pounder from New Milford, NJ, played in all 15 victories for the Bulldogs last season and started in victories over Tennessee and Kentucky as a right guard for an injured Tate Ratledge. LeCroy is a Georgia graduate who has been a Recruiting Analyst since Spring 2021.

Her death sparked reactions from coaches, players and universities across the country.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Georgia,” Tennessee coach Josh Heupel posted on social media. “We extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of Devin and Chandler.”

The single-vehicle accident involving a 2021 Ford Expedition happened around 2:45 a.m., according to a statement from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department. An initial investigation found the SUV went off the road in the outside lane of Barnett Shoals Road, hitting two utility poles and several trees.

Willock died at the scene, police said, while LeCroy, the driver of the vehicle, was taken to a local hospital by ambulance and died from her resulting injuries. Another male passenger suffered minor injuries, while another female passenger suffered serious injuries.

Multiple media outlets reported Sunday that redshirt junior right tackle Warren McClendon was the other male passenger. McClendon had announced on Saturday that he would be bypassing his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

Jackson to Indiana

Former Tennessee quarterback Tayven Jackson, who entered the NCAA transfer portal last Friday, announced Sunday that he will continue his career with Indiana. The 6-3, 200-pounder hails from Hoosier State and is the younger brother of Indiana basketball player Trayce Jackson-Davis.

Contact David Paschall at [email protected]