Paramus Catholic remembers Devin Willock, killed in Georgia crash

A tragic car accident that killed Devin Willock, the star football player who last week won the national championship against the University of Georgia, shocked North Jersey football players and brought back memories. remember when his brother – he too. a famous player – was killed in a car accident in 2009.

Willock was killed in Athens, Georgia, shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday morning while traveling as a passenger in a 2021 Ford Explorer that left the road and struck several trees and two utility poles. , according to a news release from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department. He was 20.

Georgia Bulldogs player Chandler LeCroy, who was driving the SUV, was also killed.

Willock died at the scene of his injuries. LeCroy was taken to an area hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

Police said a 21-year-old passenger suffered minor injuries, while a 26-year-old woman suffered serious injuries. “They are both stable, and we will continue to monitor their status with the medical staff,” UGA athletics said in a statement.

More: Outpouring from social media after Devin Willock, Paramus Catholic alum, dies in crash

The crash happened 12 hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their second straight national title with a parade and celebration at Sanford Stadium, the team’s on-campus venue.

Willock’s father, David Willock, said he traveled to Athens for the festivities. After the ceremony, he said, the family, including Devin, had dinner together at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant.

On Sunday afternoon, Willock said he was “sad” and still in shock.

“I can’t really believe it,” he said. “I’m still wondering if it’s a movie or something, I just can’t believe it.”

The elder Willock, a native of Antigua, recalled the similarities between this weekend’s crash and the 2009 crash that killed Willock’s brother, Jonathan Wheatley: They were both in their 20s and traveling with a group when they went missing. their lives. in the morning accidents.

Wheatley, who lettered in football, basketball and track at New Milford High School before attending Bergen Community College, died in a car accident on Sept. 5, 2009. after returning from a night in New York City with him. friends.

Wheatley’s car was hit by another vehicle on Route 4 in Englewood and pushed through the divider and then through the guardrail. Wheatley was extricated from the vehicle and hospitalized with serious injuries. He died two weeks later.

“It’s the same way – same way, same age, same everything,” Willock said in disbelief. “It’s really hard.”

Willock said he is proud of his son’s accomplishments on and off the field, and that Devin is “doing everything right.”

“You can cut me, and I don’t even bleed – I’m so happy,” Willock said. “He wanted to go further, he wanted to continue his career, he loved the game, and he wanted to continue.”

“The entire Georgia family is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of football player Devin Willock and football coach Chandler LeCroy,” the UGA athletics office said in a statement.

“Devin and Chandler are two very special people who are very important to the University of Georgia, our football program and our athletic department,” the university said. “We ask everyone to keep their families in your prayers during this difficult time.”

Willock, who started out in his hometown of New Milford with the Junior Football Knights and later transferred to Paramus Catholic High School, is a third-year varsity player who started at guard in two games this season. He played the last two games after redshirting in 2020.

Greg Russo, head coach of the Paramus Catholic Paladins, said he views Willock as an “NFL lock.”

“This kid is a great kid,” Russo said. “Everybody at Paramus Catholic feels really bad — [Principal] Stephanie [Macaluso], all the VPs — because he’s been around him and he’s been a great ambassador for the sport and the school.”

New Milford Mayor Michael Putrino said the Borough Hall gazebo will be lit up Sunday night in Willock’s memory.

“Our community’s thoughts are with the Willock family,” Putrino said. “We enjoyed watching Devin play at New Milford and follow his career as a student athlete at Paramus Catholic and the University of Georgia. He was a young man with a bright smile and a bright future on and off the field. He will be. people. missed and missed by so many. Our prayers go out to the LeCroy family and their loss as well.”

Willock, a 6-foot-7, 335-pound forward, was a redshirt sophomore. He played in every game this past season for the undefeated Bulldogs, who won the national title on Monday in a 65-7 rout of the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. California.

In an interview with before the 2022 championship game, which Georgia also won, he talked about his family, who traveled to Indianapolis for the game.

“I have the best support, and that means the world to me,” Willock said last year. “At the end of the day, they hold the most weight in my heart.”

Bill Wilde is Willock’s head coach at New Milford High School. He said he was “deeply saddened” to hear of his death. Wilde said he kept in touch with him after he returned to Paramus Catholic.

“He was a gentle giant,” said Wilde, who retired from the side after the Knights’ 2020 season. “We know he’s destined for great things.”

Attorney Preston, who is Wilde’s cousin and a former Knights recruiting officer, said he was shocked by what happened. He has been interacting with Willock on Twitter, congratulating him on winning the national title.

“I got a response early this afternoon, thank you,” said Lawyer, now Ramsey High School’s college admissions officer. “I’ve looked at that post so many times today. It’s hard to believe it’s gone. It’s just not true.”

Willock spent his first two seasons at New Milford, before transferring to Paramus Catholic. He’s been at the center of one of North Jersey’s best football games over the past few years.

The Paladins were playing St. Joe’s in the 2019 non-public group games and they lost badly. Willock was still on the field with the Paladins when he rolled and badly injured his right leg.

After his injury, both teams and their cheerleaders formed a makeshift line to wish Willock the best of luck as he was carted off the field and into the hospital, where he will undergo surgery.

Willock’s surgery was a success. He also took time off and switched his commitment from Penn State to Georgia, where he became an instant sensation. A group of Georgia fans wrote about how he needed a bike to get around campus since he couldn’t put any weight on his feet at the time.

“Coming off the injury, it’s really almost a blessing in disguise because COVID has shut everything down. I’ve still been able to go to physical therapy and continue to be healthy,” Willock told at the time. “Since then, I haven’t had any problems with my ankles or anything.”

Ahead of the 2022 Champions League, Willock was confident and praised his teammates.

“I know we’re going to do what we’re going to do,” Willock said a year ago. “We are a cohesive team that plays with each other, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to be the best in the community.”

Writers Darren Cooper and Marc Weizer, of the Athens Banner-Herald, contributed to this story.

Was Devin Willock a senior?

He was ranked the No. 39 defensive end in the country and No. To see also : O-Zone: My bad. 17 in New Jersey by ESPN Recruiting as a senior at Paramus Catholic High School in 2020.

How old is Devin Willock? Sunday in a 2021 Ford Expedition struck two power poles and several trees. According to police, LeCroy, 24, was the driver of the vehicle and was taken to the hospital, where she died of her injuries; Willock, 20, died at the scene.

How did Devin Willock die? University of Georgia football player Devin Willock and a team employee were killed in a car crash early Sunday morning, just hours after the team celebrated its second straight national championship.

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What league is Chris Willock in? Christopher Anthony Willock (born 1998) is an English professional footballer who plays as a forward for Queens Park Rangers.

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