A football player of the Georgian national team died in a crash after celebrating the title

Georgia wide receiver Devin Wheelock and a recruiting staff member were killed early Sunday in a car crash, the school said, just hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their second straight national championship with a parade and ceremony.

Two other members of the football program were injured in the crash, which occurred in Athens just south of the Georgia State campus. They were not immediately identified, but the school said both were in stable condition.

The one-vehicle crash occurred at approximately 2:45 a.m., according to a statement from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.

Georgia marked Saturday’s 65-7 rout of TCU in the national championship game with a parade around town and a ceremony at Sanford Stadium.

An initial investigation revealed that the Ford Expedition “went off the roadway, striking two utility poles and several trees,” according to the statement.

Wheelock, 20, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the car, 24-year-old Chandler LeCroy, was taken to the hospital, where she died of her injuries.

LeCroy was a recruiting analyst for the Bulldogs.

“We are all heartbroken and devastated by the loss of Devin Wheelock and Chandler LeCroy,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in a statement. “Devin was an outstanding young man in every way. He was always smiling, a great teammate and a joy to coach.”

Smart said LeCroy was “a valuable member of our football staff and brought an incredible attitude and energy every day. We mourn this tragic loss with their families and will support them in every way we can.”

Police said the wreck is still under investigation and have not determined what factors may have contributed to the crash. It may take several days for the report to be issued.

“The entire Georgia State family is devastated by the tragic loss of student-athlete-football player Devin Wheelock and football staff member Chandler LeCroy,” the school said in a statement. “Devin and Chandler were two special people who meant so much to the University of Georgia, our football program and our athletic department. We ask that everyone keep their families in your prayers at this very difficult time.”

Wheelock was a 6-foot-7, 335-pound redshirt sophomore from New Milford, New Jersey.

He played a lot as a backup during the 2022 season and started at right guard in Southeastern Conference wins over Tennessee and Kentucky.

With linemen Warren McClendon and Warren Erickson declaring for the NFL draft, Wheelock would likely compete for a starting position in 2023 as the Bulldogs seek a third straight national title.

Police said the 21-year-old passenger suffered minor injuries and the 26-year-old female passenger suffered serious injuries. Neither the school nor police have released their identities, but Georgia said in a statement that “we will continue to monitor their condition with the assistance of medical personnel.”

Georgia also said its mental health and performance staff are “making sure we are providing the best possible support for our staff and student-athletes who are going through this grief.”

In the hours before his death, Wheelock retweeted a post in which he was seen hanging out with a young Georgia fan at a restaurant, as it were, and even let the guy wear his championship ring.

“Special thanks to @DevinWillock for making time for my grandson when he didn’t have to,” the tweet read. “You went out of your way to make him feel special and you made his day!! Good luck next year! Go ahead, Doug!”


AP College Football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25

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