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Georgia Tech Mourns the Loss of Demaryius Thomas

THE FLATS – Demaryius Thomas, a two-time National Football League All-Pro whose 2,135 receiving yards in three collegiate seasons rank sixth in Georgia Tech football history, died on Thursday. He was 33.

After redshirting as a true freshman out of Dexter, Ga. in 2006, Thomas played three seasons at Georgia Tech (2007-09). He officially recorded 113 receptions (10th in school history) for 2,135 yards (sixth) and 13 touchdowns (t-seventh) in his three campaigns as a Yellow Jacket, and his whopping 25.1 yards per reception as a junior in 2009 remains the second-highest single-season receiving average in Tech’s all-time annals. After helping lead Tech to consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division championships in 2008 and 2009 and earning All-America (third team) and all-ACC (first team) recognition in ‘09, he declared for the 2010 NFL Draft.

Thomas became only the 12th first-round draft pick in Georgia Tech history when the Denver Broncos selected him with the 22nd overall pick in the 2010 Draft. He went on to play 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 (figures that rank third, second and second in team history, respectively). 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 pro, he is perhaps best remembered for being one of the most prolific postseason performers in the Broncos’ illustrious history. Making his NFL playoff debut in the divisional round of the 2011 playoffs versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, he caught four passes for a Denver postseason record 204 yards, including the game-winning 80-yard touchdown reception from Tim Tebow on the first play of overtime that lifted the Broncos to a legendary 29-23 win over the Steelers. Two seasons later (2013), he made his first of two Super Bowl appearances with the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII and set a then-Super Bowl record with 13 receptions in Denver’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Two more seasons later (2015), he won Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos (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.

Affectionately nicknamed “Bay Bay,” Thomas was born on Christmas Day, 1987. He was known at Georgia Tech and in the NFL for his work in the community, particularly with youth initiatives. He remained close with Georgia Tech football, having most recently spent time with the Yellow Jackets during preseason camp in August.

“I know I speak on behalf of the entire Georgia Tech football family when I say that we are heartbroken by the news of Demaryius’s passing. I first got to know Bay Bay during his recruiting process and was fortunate to be a member of the Tech football staff during his true freshman season in 2006. We have grown increasingly closer through the years. I will always remember what a thrill it was for our players when he was able to stop by and spend some time with us during fall camp this past August. Bay Bay was truly one of my favorite people. I will miss him terribly.”

– Georgia Tech football head coach Geoff Collins

“I was devastated to learn the news late last night of Demaryius’s passing. He was an inspiration not just to the Georgia Tech family, but to anyone who knew his story and the obstacles that he overcame in his life. He touched so many lives, not just as a football player, but as a caring and compassionate human being who always put others before himself. He made the world a better place. On behalf of the Georgia Tech athletics family, I offer our deepest and most sincere condolences to all those who knew and loved Demaryius. May they find comfort and may he rest in peace.”

– Georgia Tech director of athletics Todd Stansbury

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