DENVER — Peyton and Ashley Manning’s foundation and Georgia Tech University announced Wednesday they had established a scholarship program in memory of late Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, who died in December.
The Mannings’ PeyBack Foundation established the Demaryius A. Thomas Scholarship Endowment, which will provide for academic scholarships to Georgia Tech for incoming freshman from Thomas’s home county of Laurens County, Ga. And other nearby areas where students need financial help to go to college.
Georgia Tech Athletics says there will be full and partial scholarships, and they will follow the students through their degree programs with academic good standing. Incoming freshman will qualify if they have a 3.2 or higher GPA and demonstrated community service involvement.
“Demaryius Thomas was an incredibly talented and unselfish teammate, but more importantly, he was a special person and friend,” Peyton Manning said in a statement. “…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.”
Georgia Tech will also recognize Thomas, who wore No. 8 in college and 88 with the Broncos, each year by designating Aug. 8 (8/8) Demaryius Thomas Day. Georgia Tech will recognize university student athletes who also wear No. 8 on that day, honor the scholarship recipient, and participate in community service events.
Georgia Tech football will wear a No. 8 helmet decal this year and will have a memorial painted on the field for their home games.
“We are grateful to Peyton and Ashley Manning and the PeyBack Foundation for establishing the Demaryius Thomas Scholarship,” Georgia Tech director of athletics Todd Stansbury said in a news release. “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, one of the greatest Broncos receivers of all time, died at his home in Georgia in early December at age 33.