Georgia Bulldogs football player Devin Willock and team staff member Chandler LeCroy were killed in a car crash early Sunday, and two other members of the university’s football program were injured, the school announced.
Willock, 20, was a passenger in a Ford Expedition that left the roadway and struck two power poles and several trees around 2:45 a.m. local time, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department said.
The offensive lineman died at the scene, while the driver LeCroy, 24, was taken to a local hospital, where she died of her injuries, police said.
The cause of the single-vehicle crash is still under investigation.
LeCroy was a recruiting analyst, while Willock was a 6-foot-7 redshirt sophomore offensive lineman from New Milford, N.J. He played in all 13 regular season games for the Bulldogs, as well as Georgia’s Peach Bowl win over Ohio State and Monday’s national title win against TCU.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said the deaths devastated the entire school.
“Devin was an outstanding young man in every way. He 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,” he said in a statement.
“We grieve with their families for this tragic loss and will support them in every way possible,” Smart added.
The school’s athletic association said it would provide mental health counseling and other support to staff and student-athletes.
Social media tributes to the pair poured in on Sunday. Former Georgia teammate Jordan Davis said he was heartbroken over the news. “There is no grief without love, and we love both of you like family,” the Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman said in a tweet.
“Wasn’t supposed to be like this man,” current Bulldogs wide receiver Kearis Jackson said in a tweet, “love y’all both forever.”
Two passengers affiliated with the football team were also injured in the crash and were in stable condition, according to a statement from the University of Georgia.
Georgia offensive lineman Warren McClendon, 21, received minor injuries, and Victoria Bowles, 26, had serious injuries, according to police.
McClendon started at right tackle for Georgia this season and declared for the NFL draft earlier Saturday. His father, Warren McClendon Sr., told the Athens Banner-Herald his son needed stitches on his forehead but is “doing well.”
The crash came hours after the Bulldogs’ Sanford Stadium and the surrounding streets were filled with ecstatic fans who had come to celebrate the Bulldogs’ second straight national championship.
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.