By Ben Warwick

(CBS4) – Peyton Manning and his wife Ashley are memorializing their friend and his former teammate Demaryius Thomas by establishing a scholarship fund in his name through their foundation.

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The Demaryius A. Thomas Scholarship Endowment will help fund academic scholarships to help incoming freshmen from Laurens County, Georgia, where Thomas was born and raised, and surrounding areas. The scholarships will stay with the recipients through the completion of their degree at Georgia Tech as long as they stay in good academic standing. Students must maintain a 3.2 GPA in high school, and have performed some community service involvement to qualify.

“Demaryius Thomas was an incredibly talented and unselfish teammate, but more importantly, he was a special person and friend,” Peyton 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.”

In honor of Thomas and the establishment of the scholarship, Georgia Tech will recognize August 8th (8/8) as Demaryius Thomas Day. Each year, the university will use that day to recognize a student-athlete to wear the No. 8 jersey, which Thomas wore during his Georgia Tech football career. The university will also announce the recipient of the scholarship and partner with a local youth-oriented organization for a community service event.

“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. “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.”

(Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Thomas died at his home in Georgia in December at 33 years old. He had suffered from seizures for more than a year, and family believes he had a seizure while showering, which caused his death.

He was drafted by the Broncos in the first round of the 2010 draft, leaving the NFL as the Broncos’ second-leading receiver in franchise history. He was selected to five Pro Bowls, won two AFC Championships, and Super Bowl 50.

Ben Warwick