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Peyton Manning announced Wednesday he is honoring his late teammate Demaryius Thomas through the creation of a scholarship fund in Thomas’s name at Georgia Tech.
Thomas, a former Denver Broncos and Yellow Jackets wide receiver died in December at the age of 33. He played with Manning for four seasons with the Broncos, reaching the Super Bowl twice, and winning the big game in 2016.
The Demaryius Thomas Scholarship Endowment, created through Peyton and Ashley Manning’s PeyBack Foundation will award academic scholarships for incoming freshmen students at Georgia Tech from Laurens County, Georgia, where Thomas was born and raised, or surrounding areas that have financial needs, according to the public university.
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The full or partial scholarships, which may be combined with other forms of aid, will be awarded annually and will follow the students through the completion of their degree at Georgia Tech, depending on if they have good academic standing.
“Demaryius Thomas was an incredibly talented and unselfish teammate, but more importantly, he was a special person and friend,” Manning wrote in a statement on Instagram. “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.”
“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. 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,” the statement added.
DEMARYIUS THOMAS, EX-BRONCOS STAR WIDE RECEIVER, DEAD AT 33
Georgia Tech athletics also announced that Aug. 8 will be recognized as Demaryius Thomas Day each year, starting this summer. Thomas wore No. 8 at Georgia Tech, where he starred as a wide receiver, earning 120 receptions for 2,339 yards and 13 touchdowns over three seasons.
The university said the team’s helmets this season will also be equipped with a No. 8 decal. That August date is also when the recipients of the scholarship will be recognized.
Thomas later wore No. 88 during his nearly decade-long stint with the Broncos after the team selected him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Thomas would put together three consecutive Pro Bowl seasons after that. From 2012 to 2016, he would have more than 1,000 receiving yards. He quickly became the top target for Manning when the Hall of Famer joined the Broncos in 2012.
One of the highlights of his career came in the 2011 season when Thomas and Tim Tebow connected for a game-winning touchdown pass to upset the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card playoffs. Denver was 8-8 that season and the Steelers were 12-4.
Thomas would later play for the Houston Texans and New York Jets.
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He had 724 catches for 9,763 yards and 63 touchdowns during his career and officially announced his retirement from the NFL in June 2021.
It appears his legacy will live on for years to come.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report