THE APARTMENTS – The PeyBack Foundation, the charity founded and run by the Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning and his wife, Ashley Manningestablished the Demaryius A. Thomas Scholarship Endowment, in memory of Denver Broncos teammate Manning and Georgia Tech football legend Demaryius Thomasthe PeyBack Foundation and Georgia Tech Athletics announced Wednesday.
The Demaryius A. Thomas Scholarship Endowment will provide scholarships to attend Georgia Tech for incoming freshmen from Laurens County, Georgia, where Thomas was born and raised, or surrounding areas who demonstrate significant financial need. Scholarships will range from full scholarships to partial scholarships which can be combined with other forms of aid and divided to cover the costs of several students according to need. The scholarships will follow the recipients until they graduate from Georgia Tech, provided they remain in good standing. To initially qualify for the Thomas Scholarship, recipients must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher and must have demonstrated involvement in community service.
“Demaryius Thomas was an incredibly talented and selfless teammate, but more importantly he was a special person and a friend,” Peyton Manning said. “My family and I miss him dearly, and we wanted to honor DT’s memory by partnering the PeyBack Foundation with Georgia Tech to create the Demaryius A. Thomas Scholarship Endowment.
“An important part of Demaryius’ legacy was how he inspired the next generation to pursue his dreams with the same perseverance and determination that defined him. Through this scholarship to Georgia Tech, Demaryius will have a lasting impact on deserving young people in his native region who can follow in his footsteps and achieve great things in life.
In honor of the creation of the Thomas Scholarship, Georgia Tech Athletics announced that August 8 (8/8) of each year will be recognized by Tech as Demaryius Thomas Day, beginning this summer. Chosen in memory of the No. 8 jersey Thomas wore at Georgia Tech and the No. 88 jersey he wore for the majority of his National Football League career, including his eight and a half seasons with the Broncos, 8/ 8 will be the date each season that Tech Football will recognize the student-athlete(s) chosen to wear the #8 jersey. hosting a community service event, as well as a friend, teammate and/or a family member invited to speak to the Yellow Jackets football student-athletes.
Additionally, Georgia Tech football will honor Thomas’ memory throughout the 2022 season with a painted on-field No. 8 helmet sticker and No. 8 memorial for home games at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“We are grateful to Peyton and Ashley Manning and the PeyBack Foundation for establishing the Demaryius Thomas Scholarship,” said Georgia Tech’s director of athletics. Todd Stanbury mentioned. “Thanks to their generous contribution, Demaryius’ legacy will be carried on by Georgia Tech students in Laurens County and surrounding areas for years to come and his memory will be celebrated each year at our 8/8 Day Recognition.”
One of the greatest wide receivers in Georgia Tech football history, Thomas donned a redshirt as a true freshman at Tech in 2006 and played three seasons for the Yellow Jackets from 2007-09. It officially records 113 receptions (10and in school history) for 2,135 yards (sixth) and 13 touchdowns (t-seventh) in his three collegiate campaigns, and his 25.1 yards per reception as a junior in 2009 remains the second-highest receiving average in a season of Tech. annals of time. After helping lead the Yellow Jackets to back-to-back Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division championships in 2008 and 2009 and earning All-America and all-ACC recognition in 2009, he declared himself for the 2010 draft. of the NFL.
Thomas only became the 12and first-round pick in Georgia Tech history when the Broncos selected him with the 22n/a overall pick in the 2010 draft. He then played 10 seasons in the NFL, highlighted by eight and a half campaigns with the Broncos. He caught 724 passes for 9,763 yards and 63 touchdowns as a pro, including 665 receptions for 9,055 yards and 60 touchdowns in 125 games with the Broncos (numbers that rank third, second and second respectively in league history). ‘team). He owns 16 Broncos franchise records, including single-season receiving yards (1,619 – 2014) and career 100-yard receiving games (33). He earned second-team All-Pro honors in 2013 and 2014 and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection (2012-14, 2016).
As a professional, he is perhaps best known for being one of the most prolific playoff performers in the Broncos’ illustrious history. Making his NFL playoff debut in the 2011 Divisional Round of the 2011 playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he caught four passes for Denver’s postseason record 204 yards, including receiving touchdowns. 80-yard winner on the first overtime game that lifted the Broncos. to a legendary 29-23 win over the Steelers. A season later, Manning joined the Broncos and the duo helped lead Denver to a pair of Super Bowl appearances. In Super Bowl XLVIII, Thomas set a Super Bowl record with 13 Manning receptions in the Broncos’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Two seasons later (2015), the duo won Super Bowl 50 with a 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers. After his eight and a half seasons with the Broncos, he closed his NFL career with the Houston Texans (2018) and New York Jets (2019). He officially announced his retirement in June 2021.
Thomas caught 36 of his 60 NFL touchdowns on Manning’s passes, marking the fourth most receivers in Manning’s 18-year career in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Affectionately known as “Bay Bay,” Thomas was born on Christmas Day 1987 in Laurens County. He graduated from West Laurens HS in 2006. He was known at Georgia Tech and in the NFL for his work in the community, particularly with youth initiatives. He died suddenly on December 9, 2021 at the age of 33. His memorial service was held on December 18, 2021 at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion.