Devin Wheelock, offensive lineman for the University of Georgia Bulldogs football team, died in a car accident which left another person dead and two others injured early Sunday morning, the school said. The crash happened hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their second straight national championship with a parade and ceremony.

Wheelock, 20, died at the scene. The driver of the car, 24-year-old Chandler LeCroy, was taken to the hospital, where she later died from her injuries. LeCroy was a football recruiting analyst for the Bulldogs who previously earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Georgia. Two other members of the football program were also injured in the crash, which happened in Athens, Ga., just south of campus. They were not immediately identified, but the school said both were in stable condition.

ESPN reported that another forward, Warren McLendon, was among the injured. The junior announced Saturday that he is entering the NFL draft.

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

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

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.

Football in celebration of Georgia
Georgia football players cheer for the crowd during a parade to celebrate the Bulldogs’ second straight NCAA national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga.

Alex Slitz/AP

The joyful mood was quickly replaced by sadness.

“We are all heartbroken and devastated by the loss of Devin Wheelock and Chandler LeCroy,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “Devin was a wonderful 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 grieve with their families for this tragic loss and will support them in any 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 before an accident report is issued.

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

Athletic director Josh Brooks said Wheelock and LeCroy were “two special people” who “meant the world to our football program and athletic department.”

“We will continue to honor their memory in the years to come,” Brooks added.

“The entire Georgia family is devastated by the tragic loss of student-athlete-footballer Devin Wheelock and football staff member Chandler LeCroy,” the University of Georgia Athletic Association said in a statement. statementadding, “The UGA Athletic Association will work with our medical team, as well as our mental health and performance staff, to make sure we provide the best possible support for our staff and student-athletes who are going through this grief. We are unable to provide additional comments at this time, but ask everyone to continue to keep those involved in your prayers.”

Police said the 21-year-old passenger suffered minor injuries and the 26-year-old female passenger suffered serious injuries. “We will continue to monitor their condition with medical staff,” the school said.

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.”

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey, who spoke at the championship celebration, tweeted that Wheelock’s death was “incredibly sad news and we extend our condolences, prayers and support.”

Another Georgia player, linebacker Nolan Smith, said Wheelock’s death was “heartbreaking.”

“All I have to say, THE GREATS LEAVE (TOO) SOON,” Smith tweeted. “@DevinWillock I LOVE YOU FOREVER.”

A few hours before death, Wheelock retweeted the message it showed him hanging out with a young Georgia fan at what appeared to be a restaurant, even letting 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!

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