Englewood, Colorado. Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning has set up a scholarship fund at Georgia Tech to honor his friend and former teammate Demaryius Thomas.
Thomas, a former recipient of Georgia Tech and a native of Georgia, died on December 9 at the age of 33.
The Demaryius Thomas Scholarship, established through the Manning’s PeyBack Foundation, will award academic scholarships to new students coming from Laurens County, Georgia, where Thomas was born and raised, or surrounding communities that demonstrate significant financial need and academic achievement. Full or partial scholarships will be awarded annually, and students will receive scholarships until their graduation from Georgia Tech.
“Demarius Thomas was an incredibly talented and selfless, but most importantly, special person and friend,” Manning said in a statement on Wednesday. “My family and I miss him so much, and we wanted to honor the memory of DT by partnering with the PeyBack Foundation with Georgia Tech to create the Demaryius A. Thomas Scholarship.
“An important part of Demarius’ legacy has been the way in which he inspired the next generation to pursue their dreams with the same perseverance and determination that they set. Through this Georgia Tech scholarship, Demarius will have a lasting impact on the deserving youth of his hometown who can follow in his footsteps and achieve great things. In life “.
Georgia Tech also announced that August 8 will be recognized as Demaryius Thomas Day each year; Thomas’s school uniform number was 8. The scholarship recipient will be recognized on that day as well.
Yellow jackets players will also wear the number 8 badge on their helmets for the 2022 season.
“We are grateful to Peyton, Ashley Manning, and the PeyBack Foundation for founding the Demaryius Thomas Scholarship,” Todd Stansbury, athletic director for Georgia Tech said in a statement. And with their generous contribution, Demaryius’ legacy will be carried on through Georgia Tech. Students from Laurens County and surrounding areas for years to come and will be commemorated each year during 8/8 Day Honors.
Thomas was a first-round pick by the Denver Broncos in the 2010 NFL Draft and spent nine seasons with the team, including Manning’s four seasons in Denver. He finished his career as the Broncos’ second-leading receiver (9,055 yards), behind only Rod Smith, and third in franchise history in catches (655) behind Smith and Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe.
With Manning arriving at the Broncos in 2012, Thomas had no fewer than 90 receptions and 1,300 yards in four consecutive seasons, joining Hall of Famers Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice as well as former Rams senior receiver Torry Holt as the only player to reach those. totals over four consecutive seasons.
In the Broncos’ record 2013 season, when Denver scored a single-season record 606 points and Manning set NFL records for passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55), Thomas finished with the best 14 touchdowns of his career. The following season, Thomas finished with a career best gaining 1,619 yards.
In all, Thomas set 16 records in the Broncos franchise, including his 1,619-yard season and 33 career 100-yard run.
Thomas played 10 seasons overall with the Broncos, Houston Texans and New York Jets, finishing his NFL career with 724 catches for 9,763 yards and 63 touchdowns.
At Georgia Tech, Thomas was a first-team All-ACC pick in 2009 and officially scored 113 receptions for 2,135 yards and 13 touchdowns over three seasons.