Peyton Manning Announces Demaryius Thomas Scholarship Endowment with Georgia Tech

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 27, 2022

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 2:  Peyton Manning #18 congratulates Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos following his touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 2, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/Getty Images)
Garrett W. Ellwood/Getty Images

The PeyBack Foundation, created by Peyton Manning and wife Ashley Manning, has teamed with the Georgia Tech athletic department to launch the Demaryius A. Thomas Scholarship Endowment in memory of Peyton's former Denver Broncos teammate.

Thomas died in December at the age of 33 after suffering a seizure. He played college football for the Yellow Jackets from 2006 through 2009 and starred alongside Manning with the Broncos across four seasons beginning in 2012.

"Demaryius Thomas was an incredibly talented and unselfish teammate, but more importantly, he was a special person and friend," Manning said. "My family and I miss him dearly, and we wanted to honor D.T.'s memory by partnering the PeyBack Foundation with Georgia Tech to establish the Demaryius A. Thomas Scholarship Endowment."

The endowment will provide academic scholarships to freshman students from Laurens County in Georgia, where Thomas' hometown of Montrose is located, or the surrounding areas who "demonstrate significant financial need."

Students can benefit from the endowment for the entire duration of their Georgia Tech academic career if they maintain a GPA of 3.2 or higher and have been involved in community service efforts.

"An important part of Demaryius' legacy was the way he inspired the next generation to pursue their dreams with the same perseverance and determination that defined him," Manning said. "Through this scholarship to Georgia Tech, Demaryius will have a lasting impact on deserving youth from his hometown area who can follow in his footsteps and accomplish great things in life."

Georgia Tech announced it will honor Thomas and the scholarship recipients yearly with Demaryius Thomas Day on August 8—8/8 in honor of his college (8) and NFL (88) jersey numbers. The first memorial will be held this August.

The Yellow Jackets will wear a No. 8 decal on their helmets throughout the 2022 season.

"We are grateful to Peyton and Ashley Manning and the PeyBack Foundation for establishing the Demaryius Thomas Scholarship," GT athletic director Todd Stansbury said. "Thanks to their generous contribution, Demaryius' legacy will be carried on through Georgia Tech students from Laurens County and surrounding areas for years to come and his memory will be celebrated each year during our 8/8 Day recognitions."

Thomas was named first-team All-ACC during his senior season at Georgia Tech before being selected by the Broncos in the first round of the 2010 draft.

He proceeded to earn four Pro Bowl selections in the NFL and, along with Manning, helped Denver win Super Bowl 50 at the end of the 2015 season.

Thomas also played for the Houston Texans, New England Patriots and New York Jets during the final seasons of his career.