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The aftermath of the car crash death of Georgia football player Devin Willock took a strange turn Thursday.
An advertised “press” conference with a lawyer from the Go Big Injury Lawyers firm happened, but an expected announcement of a wrongful death lawsuit did not. And any questions went unanswered.
The Go Big Injury Lawyers firm of Athens, Georgia, announced a press conference for 2 p.m. Thursday at Athens-Clarke County Courthouse about a lawsuit, pitting the Willock family against the University of Georgia.
Go Big Injury Lawyers Planned To Announce A Lawsuit
Willock, a sophomore offensive lineman for the Georgia Bulldogs from New Milford, New Jersey, died at approximately 2:45 a.m. Sunday in a car crash in Athens. The driver of the vehicle, Georgia football recruiting staff member Chandler LeCroy, also died in the crash.
LeCroy, 24, was at fault, according to a Georgia Motor Vehicle crash report released Tuesday. She exceeded the posted 40 mph speed limit before losing control of the 2021 Ford Expedition. She crashed into into power poles and trees before coming to a stop against an apartment complex off Barnett Shoals Road, the report said.
The crash ejected Willock, 20, from the back seat, and he died at the scene. Emergency workers rushed LeCroy, 24, to Piedmont Regional Hospital in Athens, where she died.
Crash Victim Victoria Bowles Remains In Serious Condition
Georgia football recruiting staff member Victoria Bowles, 26, was also a passenger and suffered significant injuries in the crash and remains in serious condition at Piedmont Regional. Bowles has been a babysitter for Georgia football coach Kirby Smart and his wife Mary Beth. Georgia junior offensive lineman Warren McClendon, 21, of Brunswick, Georgia, was a fourth person in the vehicle. He suffered minor injuries and was quickly released from the hospital.
Georgia’s athletic department rented the vehicle driven by LeCroy for transporting visiting prospects around campus and Athens as part of a recruiting weekend, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. It is not known if Georgia authorized LeCroy to drive current players in the vehicle or to be driving that late. Toxicology reports on the accident to see if it involved drinking will not be released for several weeks.
Georgia Is Working With Devin Willock’s Family
But Dave Willock, who is the father of the late Devin Willock, said Thursday that he was not planning a lawsuit at this time.
“No, Georgia is working with us,” Willock told the AJC. “We have no reason to do that (sue Georgia), because they are compensating us 100 percent.”
A source connected to Georgia said the school plans to compensate the Willock family well through various insurance policies.
“We grieve with their families for this tragic loss and will support them in every way possible,” Smart said on Sunday.
Brian Stellwag, a spokesman for Go Big Injury Lawyers, told OutKick Thursday night that the WIllock family was not ready for a press conference about a lawsuit so soon after Devin’s death.
“Given the circumstances surrounding the event, the law firm is giving the family and the University some space,” Stellwag said.
Devin Willock Had NIL Deal With Go Big Injury Lawyers
But Willock also told the AJC that he knew of no press conference, even though the Go Big Injury Lawyers said the press conference would include Willock family members. And Go Big Injury Lawyers previously employed Devin Willock as part of a Name, Image & Likeness deal.
“I have no knowledge of a press conference,” Willock said Thursday morning. “I heard about it on the news. And I’m like, ‘What? Who said that?’ I don’t know anything about it.”
Devin Willock was still pictured in an advertisement on the Go Big Injury Lawyers website on Thursday, and it does not appear to be a memorial display. To the right of the words “Go Big Injury Lawyers” and the firm’s 800 number on the website is a big picture of Willock with the following words underneath – “Devin Willock | #77 | UGA | 6-7 335 LBS.”
The same picture appears on billboards in the state of Georgia, including one in Tifton and another between Macon and Gray on Highway 129. Stellwag said the family chose to keep Devin’s picture in the advertisement and on billboards after his death because he was so proud of his NIL agreement with Go Big Injury Lawyers.
Devin Willock ‘Was More Than Just A Football Player’
The firm later delayed the press conference to 3 p.m. And Go Big Injury Lawyers attorney Roy Willey was the only speaker. He said nothing of a lawsuit or any legal proceedings and took no questions. He just read the following statement which the firm said came from the Willock family:
“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. Thank you, Dave and Sharlene Willock.“
The car crash remains under investigation.