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U. of Georgia football player and staffer die in car crash hours after victory parade

University of Georgia running back Kendall Milton, #2, celebrates after a touchdown with offensive lineman Devin Willock, #77, during the school's spring NCAA college football game on Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Athens.
Brett Davis
/
AP
University of Georgia running back Kendall Milton, #2, celebrates after a touchdown with offensive lineman Devin Willock, #77, during the school's spring NCAA college football game on Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Athens.

University of Georgia football player Devin Willock and a team staff member died in a car crash early Sunday morning, just hours after the team celebrated its second consecutive national championship win.

Willock, 20, and recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy, 24, were killed in the crash, and two other members of the university's football program were injured, the school announced.

"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," University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart said in a statement.

"We grieve with their families for this tragic loss and will support them in every way possible," Smart added.

University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead said the entire campus was mourning Willock and LeCroy.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends. We also pray for the full recovery of those injured in this tragic accident," Morehead said.

The Athens-Clarke County Police Department said in a press release that officers responded to a single-vehicle crash at around 2:45 a.m. Initial information suggested a 2021 Ford Expedition left the roadway and struck two power poles and several trees. Police said the investigation into the crash was ongoing.

Willock died at the scene, while LeCroy, who was driving, was transported to a local hospital where she died of her injuries, investigators said.

Police said a 21-year-old male passenger sustained minor injuries and a 26-year-old female passenger sustained serious injuries. The University of Georgia said on Sunday that both surviving passengers were in stable condition.

Originally from New Milford, N.J., Willock was an offensive lineman for the Bulldogs listed as a "redshirt sophomore" on the team's website.

Tributes to Willock and LeCroy were abundant on social media Sunday, including from current University of Georgia football players.

"Wasn't supposed to be like this man," Bulldogs wide receiver Kearis Jackson said in a tweet, "love y'all both forever."

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Joe Hernandez