Georgia offensive lineman Warren McClendon speaks for first time following deadly crash
MOBILE, Ala. – Warren McClendon, the University of Georgia football player who survived a fatal accident earlier this month, will wear his fallen teammate’s jersey in the upcoming Senior Bowl.
The 21-year-old Georgia Bulldog offensive lineman spoke to the FOX 5 on the sidelines while he was training in Mobile, Alabama.
“It’s been tough at times, but you have to take it day by day and try to get through it,” McClendon told FOX 5’s DJ Shockley.
McClendon was one of four people in an SUV just hours after a day-long celebration of back-to-back national championships on Jan. 15. Athens Police say a black 2021 Ford Expedition being driven by 24-year-old recruitment worker Chandler LeCroy failed to negotiate a curve along Barnett Shoals Road just before Stroud Road. The crash killed LeCroy and McClendon’s roommate and friend, 20-year-old offensive lineman Devin Willock. McClendon escaped the accident with minor injuries.
“It was tough for me, you know, for a few days, but I’ve spoken to a psychiatrist and it’s getting better every day,” McClendon said.
Willock was buried in a private ceremony in New Jersey last week, just days after McClendon learned he had been approved for the Senior Bowl. He decided to honor his friend by wearing McClendon’s No. 77 jersey.
“Really it was a no-brainer, you know, after it all happened I was like I had to carry it for him. They know from a brother, a roommate, I have to do it,” McClendon said.
Georgia Bulldog offensive lineman Warren McClendon speaks for the first time after a fatal accident claimed the life of his roommate and friend on Jan. 31, 2023. (FOX 5)
He said it will be difficult being on the field without his friend but he says Willock would want him out there.
“It’s been tough, you know, but I know Devin, if he were out here, I mean if he were still here, you know he’d want me to come out here and give it my all,” he said.
McClendon said it was good to see some of his former teammates and opponents and even meet some new people.
“Really, just being around the guys, you know you’ve got some teammates out here, it’s just good to see them again, you know, just making new connections with the scouts and other teams’ new players, so just new ones making connections,” he said.
Athens Police say speeding contributed to the accident. Investigators are still waiting for a toxicology report from the driver.
Reece’s Senior Bowl is Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Hancock Whitney Stadium.