On Wednesday, Peyton Manning announced the launch of a new scholarship fund to honor his former Denver Broncos teammate Demaryius Thomas, who died on Dec. 9 at the very young age of 33. 

The Demaryius Thomas Scholarship Endowment will be given through the Manning family’s foundation, the Peyback Foundation. Academic scholarships will be awarded to incoming Georgia Tech freshmen from Laurens County, Georgia, and other nearby communities who demonstrate significant financial need and academic achievement. 

Thomas was born and raised in Laurens County and played football at Georgia Tech from 2006 to 2009. The Broncos drafted him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Manning announced the scholarship on his personal Instagram account

In his statement, he said:

“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.”

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.”

To qualify for a scholarship, students must have a 3.2 or higher GPA and proof of served community service. As long as recipients maintain strong academic standing, the scholarships will run throughout their entire time as a Yellow Jacket.

The scholarship will be granted yearly on Aug. 8, which will also be known as “Demaryius Thomas Day.” Thomas wore the No. 8 during his time at Georgia. The Yellow Jackets will wear a No. 8 decal on their jersey next season to honor his memory.

In college, Thomas was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2009 and finished with 113 receptions for 2,135 yards and 13 touchdowns over three seasons.

During Manning’s time as a Broncos quarterback, Thomas had at least 90 receptions and 1,300 yards in four consecutive seasons and had two Super Bowl appearances, winning one.

Thomas will be forever missed in BroncosCountry, and was honored on the field of Mile High last year. Now, he will be honored yearly thanks to the Peyback Foundation’s giving.