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What did Georgia’s Nolan Smith say at the NFL Combine about the death of his teammate Devin Willock?

It was hard not to be affected by his enthusiasm and positive attitude at the NFL’s Combine on Wednesday, but that all changed for Nolan Smith in an instant.

It was hard not to be affected by his enthusiasm and positive attitude at the NFL’s Combine on Wednesday, but that all changed for Nolan Smith in an instant.
Kirby LeeUSA TODAY Sports

The Former Georgia linebacker couldn’t fight his tears when speaking at the Combine about the death of his former teammate Devin Willock. If you missed it, Willock was killed in a car accident back in January which also claimed the life of a recruiting analyst.

Georgia’s Nolan Smith talks about Devin Willock’s death

Despite his infectious positivity on Wednesday, former Georgia LB, Nolan Smith was quickly reduced to tears when asked about the tragic death of his former teammate, Devin Willock. It was back on January 15th, when Willock was killed along with recruiting analyst, Chandler Lecroy, in an accident that involved several other Georgia players including, the highly regarded Jalen Carter. Indeed, Carter himself has since seen an arrest warrant issued for his role in the accident.

“This is the first time I’m talking about it,” Smith said when asked about the fatal car crash that killed Georgia teammate Devin Willock, only six days after they won their second consecutive college football national championship. “That’s my guy,” Smith said, while trying to maintain his composure. “I get sensitive talking about it just because I love him. And he never did anything wrong in his three years. He was supposed to graduate. Most people don’t know his brother passed like that. No one should deserve to die like that.”

What was Jalen Carter’s role in the death of Devin Willock?

As mentioned before, an arrest warrant has now been issued for Carter who is in fact in Indianapolis for the Combine. Largely projected to go at No. 1 in the upcoming NFL Draft, Carter’s warrant relates to alleged reckless driving and racing, which are both misdemeanors. It is understood that, he initially misled Carter prosecutors when first interviewed, claiming that he was a mile away from the crash. Later, he would go on to admit that he was beside the car when it crashed and ended the lives of both his 20-year-old teammate and a 24-year-old recruiting analyst. The car was allegedly travelling at 83mph, which is double the legal speed limit. Carter and LeCroy were “operating their vehicles in a manner consistent with racing” prior to the crash, police said.

Nolan Smith’s future is bright but his heart is broken

It’s interesting to note, that Smith, who’s been recovering from a torn pectoral muscle as he prepares for the NFL’s Draft, has not returned to Athens since Georgia dismantled destroyed TCU 65-7 back on January 9th to win the College Football Playoff. What was evident, is that’s likely been an intentional choice as he’s focused on his future. On Wednesday, however, it was clear he could no longer hold back his grief.

“Three years in a row, that man showed up (and) worked day in and day out. He’s a two-time natty champ, man. And it’s written in stone,” Smith said as tears streamed down his cheeks. “Devin, I love you, baby. Seven-seven (Willock wore jersey No. 77), you living forever. ‘Do it for Dev,’ that’s what I tell them boys at Georgia. ‘You lost a brother. Do it for Dev.’ I’m sorry to get emotional, man.” Smith was then asked about Carter as a person, not in relation to Willock’s death. “Man, I just want to go ahead and clear this up right now to y’all – J.C. is just misunderstood. He’s probably one of my favorite teammates to play with. I love pass rushing with him. I just (love) being around him in the locker room. He’s just an amazing friend.”

What can we expect from Nolan Smith on the field?

In truth, Smith himself is likely to be a first-round pick, though he largely spent the remainder of his interview speaking of his other teammates who are up for the Draft as well. Where his health is concerned, he stated that he’s now more or less good to go following a chest injury which he suffered back on October 29th. This is of course good news for those interested in the 6′3″, 235-pound player who is often compared to the Bills’ Von Miller. Ultimately,

Smith’s talents on the field are unquestionable, but the challenge will be whether he can maintain focus in the face of recent events off it. To hear him tell it, that’s what he intends to do. “I play football,” he said. “I haven’t done anything in a long time. I can’t wait to showcase my talents. ...Most people think it’s just a game, man – those are my brothers I go out there with,” Smith said. “It’s more than a game ...but, especially at Georgia, man, that connection piece is real.”


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