ATHENS - Devin Willock left an impression on the University of Georgia.

And the University of Georgia left an impression on him.

The Georgia football team, staff and administration were to get their chance to say goodbye to Willock on Saturday. The university announced that a private Celebration of Life service would to be held in Athens. Details of the memorial service were not made public.

Willock, 20, died in a single-vehicle accident early last Sunday morning, hours after Georgia celebrated its second consecutive football national championship with a parade and ceremony at Sanford Stadium. Georgia recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy was driving the vehicle when it went off the road and struck two utility poles and multiple trees. Willock was ejected from the car and died at the scene. LeCroy, 24, also was killed in the accident. Teammate Warren McClendon and Tory Bowles, another member of the Georgia football recruiting department, also were in the vehicle and survived the accident.

“It’s hard, you know. I cry a lot,” Willock’s father, Dave, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It makes me think, ‘Why? Why does this happen?’ I just don’t know. You just take it one day at a time, and it starts to fade.”

There will be a public Celebration of Life for Willock on Friday in Englewood, New Jersey. It will be held at The Community Baptist Church. Visitation will start at 9 a.m., with the service starting at 11 a.m. Senior pastor the Rev. Lester W. Taylor will officiate.

Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Devin Willock (77) poses for a photograph following their NCAA football game against Georgia Tech at Sanford Stadium, Saturday, November 26, 2022, in Athens, Ga. Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

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Credit: Jason Getz /

Willock was a redshirt sophomore offensive lineman. The New Milford, New Jersey native appeared in 27 games across the past two seasons, including every game in the 2022 season. He started at right guard in two crucial SEC victories against Tennessee and Kentucky this past season. Willock potentially could have become a full-time starter in 2023.

During an interview with in March, Willock remembered how special it was to be on the field during the extra-point attempt following Kelee Ringo’s championship-clinching interception that was returned for a touchdown. Georgia defeated Alabama 33-18 for its first national title in four decades. Willock was asked what he was thinking as the confetti rained upon him and his teammates in Indianapolis on Jan. 10, 2022.

“The first thing I did was get the little (commemorative) newspaper, get a bunch of confetti, and I ran over to the sideline where my family was up in the second row,” he said. “When I got there, as the confetti was still falling, I pointed to the newspaper and was like, ‘This is it, this is what we all came for, this is what we did.’ “It was definitely special. As soon as I got that newspaper I was like, y’all need to hold this so it won’t get messed up in the chaos. I knew it was going to be chaotic out there.”

Willock and his teammates celebrated a year later with another national championship following with resounding victory over TCU, 65-7 in Inglewood, California, on Jan. 9.

Hours before his death, a man tweeted a thank you to Willock for spending time with his grandson, saying he went out of his way to make the child feel special. In the shared photos, the child is posing with Willock, wearing his championship ring. Willock acknowledged the post with three heart emojis, his final tweet.

In an interview with DawgNation following Willock’s death, John Whitehead, Willock’s high school coach at Paramus Catholic, lauded the offensive lineman. He said Willock “thought the University of Georgia was the greatest place in the world.”

“He was just a good kid, man,” Whitehead said. “Such a good kid. Just such a good kid. Such a nice kid. Such a nice kid. Just always a positive kid. Never negative. About anything. Just a really nice kid. Oh my god. Such a nice kid. ... He would’ve ended up being a great husband and a great father.”

Since the accident, numerous past and present Bulldogs have released statements and honored Willock and LeCroy.

Coach Kirby Smart said: “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.”

Quarterback Stetson Bennett shared on Instagram: “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.”

Former Bulldogs defensive tackle Jordan Davis, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, tweeted: “Heartbroken (for real), 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 punter Jake Camarda, now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had “77, RIP Dev + Chan” on a towel he wore during his first NFL playoff game Monday.

Willock’s parents, Dave and Sharlene Willock, released a statement Thursday.

“First, we would like to thank the city of Athens and the overwhelming support of the Georgia and New Jersey football communities, fans, teammates, coaches and friends over the past few days. As there are no words that can be found to describe the grief that we are experiencing with our loss, the support of all those that have said kind words and shared loving memories of Devin has helped us during this time.

“What we would like everyone to know is that Devin was more than just a football player. He was a trusted friend, a supportive and loving brother, a dedicated student and a wonderful son. Devin’s infectious personality and loving smile is one that no one who met or saw him will ever forget. He was a young man that was not solely driven by football. He was driven by his love of others and his desire to fulfill his future. He is someone that we know people that met him will never forget, not because of this tragedy but because of the positive experiences, influences and interactions that they had with him.

“To know Devin simply was to love him, and being the amazing young man that he was, Devin gave nothing but love and positivity to those around him. We also ask that you keep Chandler LeCroy’s family in your thoughts and prayers, along with Warren McClendon and Tory Bowles, that they may be fully healed. Although we will never be able to truly get over this moment, your prayers, thoughts and memories of Devin continue to give us strength during this time.”

The funeral for LeCroy was held Wednesday at First Baptist Church in Toccoa. The university football team and staff, along with past and present Stephens County High School cheerleaders, attended and were honorary pallbearers.

Those interested in supporting the LeCroy and Willock families can donate to the verified GoFundMe accounts. LeCroy: and Willock:


Jan. 14: Fans in Athens attend a parade and ceremony to celebrate Georgia’s football national championship.

Jan. 15: Around 2:45 a.m., Athens-Clarke County Police respond to a single-vehicle crash. Two of the four people in the vehicle — offensive lineman Devin Willock and staff member Chandler LeCroy — died in the accident.

Tuesday: Police say “excessive speed” was a factor in the crash.

Wednesday: LeCroy is remembered as “a blessing to everyone” by family and friends at a service in Toccoa.

Thursday: Willock’s father says family will not sue the university.

Saturday: A private memorial service was to be held and attended by members of the Georgia football program, coaches, athletes, staff and UGA administration. A public memorial service is planned for Friday in Englewood, New Jersey.

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