ATHENS, Ga. — The sports world is reacting Sunday after the tragic loss of a University of Georgia football player and a team staff member. The single-vehicle crash in Athens happened hours after celebrating the Bulldogs' second National Championship in as many years.
Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy both died from their injuries. Two others were in the car and also suffered injuries.
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Once word got out, many shared their grief on social media. President Joe Biden, in town to deliver a sermon during an MLK service, learned of the deaths when Sen. Raphael Warnock informed the church.
"We lift these families in prayer. We pray for our city. We pray for our state. We pray for our nation. We pray for the world," Warnock said.
Head coach Kirby Smart said Willock was "always smiling" and that LeCroy "brought an incredible attitude and energy every single day."
Kirby Smart's full statement:
“We are all heartbroken and devastated with the loss of Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy. 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.”
University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead:
“On behalf of the University of Georgia, our entire campus grieves for the loss of two young members of our campus community—student-athlete Devin Willock and football staff member Chandler 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.”
UGA Athletics Director Josh Brooks:
“We are covering the families of Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy in prayer this morning. We are deeply saddened on the tragic loss of Devin and Chandler, and we will continue to honor their memory in the years to come. These two special people meant the world to our football program and athletic department. We are working with our medical staff and mental health and performance team to ensure our staff and student-athletes have all the support they need during this extremely difficult time.”
UGA Quarterback Stetson Bennett IV:
The Bulldogs player posted a heartfelt message on his Instagram Tuesday, saying: "Dev made me feel safe. Chandler made me feel happy. The pain will fade but that won't, so I smile when I cry. Just wish I could hug them again."
Warren McClendon, Jr.
UGA player Warren McClendon was also in the crash. He had minor injuries which were treated by medical staff. More than 12 hours after word of the tragic event, he expressed condolences and shock on Twitter.
LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Georgia Football program and the friends and family of Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy."
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp:
"Our hearts break for the young lives lost last night and their families. We are lifting up their loved ones, friends, and teammates in prayer this morning."
Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey:
"We join the University of Georgia community in mourning the loss of Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy. The Southeastern Conference family sends it condolences to the families, friends, teammates, classmates and everyone close to these young people who left us too soon. Our prayers today are with everyone at the University of Georgia."
Former football player, current analyst Robert Griffin III:
"Prayers up for the families of Georgia O-Lineman Devin Willock and Georgia staff member Chandler LeCroy who died this morning in a car accident. Gone way too soon. Rest In Peace."
Georgia Tech Football program:
"Our entire program and community send our most sincere and deepest condolences to @GeorgiaFootball on the passing of Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy. Our thoughts are with their families, friends, teammates and coaches."
Former UGA football star Rennie Curran:
"So sad to hear about the tragic loss of Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy. Sending prayers up for their families, friends, teammates, and everyone impacted. Life is so unpredictable. We have to be thankful for every single day we get. This is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry."
Former UGA football star Jordan Davis:
"Heartbroken Fr, Watching them grow and become like family over these few years. There is no grief without love, and we love both of you like family."
Former UGA quarterback Aaron Murray:
"Terrible news out of Athens. Prayers up to the family members and all the teammates and staff."
Atlanta Hawks player Trae Young:
"Heavy Heart.. Sending my prayers to their families & loved ones. So sad. Hug the person next to you, we really have to cherish every moment we’re here."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with @GeorgiaFootball and the entire University of Georgia community."
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State University head coach:
"Heartbreaking news out of Georgia. Thoughts and prayers are with the Willock and LeCroy families. Condolences to the Bulldog family."
"Our condolences are with the entire @GeorgiaFootball and @UGAAthletics community."
During Monday night's football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay punter Jake Camarda was spotted with a tribute on his towel to Willock and LeCroy. Social media users shared images of the tribute online. Camarda is a UGA alum.