No. 88 Denver Broncos
|Date of birth:December 25, 1987|
|Place of birth: Montrose, Georgia|
|High school: Dublin (GA) West Laurens|
|College: Georgia Tech|
|NFL Draft: 2010 / Round: 1 / Pick: 22|
|Debuted in 2010 for the Denver Broncos|
|Roster status: Active|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2013
Demaryius Antwon Thomas (born December 25, 1987) is an American football wide receiver for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Thomas led the team in receiving in all three of his seasons at Georgia Tech. He was selected by the Denver Broncos with the 22nd overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Thomas was born on December 25, 1987 to parents Bobby and Katina Thomas in Montrose, Georgia. By all accounts a shy and introverted child, Thomas grew up with his aunt and uncle after his mother was sent to prison. As a child he was given the nickname "Bay Bay" by his uncle in reference to the bad kids from the movie Bebe's Kids.
Thomas attended West Laurens High School where he played basketball and football as a wide receiver. As a junior in 2004, he recorded 32 receptions for 330 yards and three touchdowns. Thomas was named an all-region and all-Heart of Georgia player. The following season, he recorded 82 receptions for 1,234 yards and ten touchdowns. After the game, he participated in the North-South All-Star game. Thomas was again selected as an all-region and all-Heart of Georgia, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution named him to its Class AA all-state first team and PrepStar to its All-Region team. Scout.com assessed him as the 22nd-ranked college prospect in the state of Georgia, and Rivals.com rated him the 34th-ranked such prospect. He received scholarship offers from Duke, Georgia, and Georgia Tech.
He chose to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology where he majored in management. Thomas sat out the 2006 season as a redshirt. In 2007, he saw action in all 13 games including 10 starts, and recorded 35 receptions for 558 yards, which ranked second on the team. In the 2007 Humanitarian Bowl, he made four receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. The Sporting News named Thomas to its freshman All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) first team and a freshman All-America honorable mention.
In 2008, Paul Johnson was hired as the head coach and implemented the run-heavy triple option offense. Thomas considered transferring but decided against it. During the season, he recorded 39 receptions for 627 yards and three touchdowns as the leading receiver. Despite playing in a heavily run-oriented system, as one of the team's few experienced players, Thomas recorded relatively high numbers.
Still, compared with other receivers in the Atlantic Coast Conference, such as leader D. J. Boldin of Wake Forest, Thomas' statistics were much smaller. He said, "Sometimes I think about [not getting many passes], but most of the time I just want to win." Thomas' mark was the best of any wide receiver from the school since Calvin Johnson in 2006. Against Duke, he caught nine receptions for 230 yards, the second-most in a single game in school history.
In 2009, during his Junior (redshirt) year at GT, Thomas had a breakout season with 46 receptions for 1,154 yards and 8 touchdowns. This earned him 1st team All-ACC honors. He finished his career at Georgia Tech with 120 catches for 2,339 and 14 TDs.
Many draft experts had him gaining momentum with NFL scouts going into the last couple weeks leading up to the draft and most had him as the number one or two-rated wide receiver along with Dez Bryant in the 2010 NFL Draft, including Sporting News. On January 8, 2010, he declared his entrance to the 2010 NFL Draft.
Thomas broke his foot and was unable to participate in combine drills.
Denver Broncos (2010-present)
Thomas was drafted by the Denver Broncos 22nd overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Thomas had 8 receptions for 97 yards and scored one touchdown in his NFL debut against the Seattle Seahawks. He was just the 9th player in the NFL (since 1970) to record at least 8 catches in his first game. This was also the 2nd most catches by a rookie in franchise history. The highlight of Thomas' season came when he beat all-pro cornerback Darrelle Revis for a touchdown when the Broncos hosted the New York Jets on 17 October 2010.
Thomas was plagued by injuries during his rookie season. He first missed playing time due to a forearm injury and a concussion; an ankle injury also rendered him inactive for five more games late in the season.
Thomas ended his first season having played in 10 games, with 22 receptions for 283 yards and 2 touchdowns.
On February 10, 2011 it was announced that Thomas had torn his achilles tendon while working out and was expected to miss a majority, if not the entirety, of the 2011 season. However, he was surprisingly activated from the Physically Unable to Perform List prior to the start of the season - Broncos GM Brian Xanders said that Demaryius had responded to rehab well and was "ready to go." Unfortunately, during his very first practice back, Thomas broke his left pinkie finger and missed the first 5 games of the season.
Thomas made his season debut on October 23, 2011 against the Miami Dolphins. He linked up with quarterback Tim Tebow for the Broncos' first score of the game, which Denver would go on to win in overtime. Despite this early promise, he only had 4 receptions in the next 5 games as the Broncos moved towards a run-heavy option offense.
Demaryius broke out in a match against the Minnesota Vikings on December 4, 2011, recording 144 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 4 receptions. He would end the season strongly, emerging as Tebow's favorite receiver and setting a franchise record by leading the Broncos in both receiving and targets over the final 7 games.
But it was during the first round of the playoffs that Thomas truly made his presence felt. On January 8, 2012 Thomas caught the game-winning, 80-yard touchdown pass from Tebow on the opening play of overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card game, 29-23. This was the first non-sudden death playoff game in NFL history  but Denver's score ended the game.
The entire play took 11 seconds, and is the fastest ending to an overtime in NFL history to date. It is also the longest playoff overtime touchdown in NFL history. Thomas ended with a stat-line of 4 receptions, 204 yards and 1 touchdown in his playoff debut. It marked the most receiving yards by a Bronco in playoff history and the 2nd-highest receiving average (51.0) in a single game in NFL annals. Thomas caught 6 balls for 93 yards the following week against the New England Patriots.
He ended the 2011 regular season with 32 receptions for 551 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Thomas was coming off surgery to remove pins in his left pinkie when quarterback Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos during the 2012 off season. This meant that, unlike fellow receiver Eric Decker, he was unable to participate in workouts with Manning. Thomas, however, made an effort to improve his route-running and quickly caught up. Manning noted during training camp that Thomas' "size, strength and speed just allow you to do certain things with him that other players just can't do."
Despite reports describing the connection between Thomas and Manning as "balky", Thomas found success again in the Broncos' very first game of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Down 13 to 7, Thomas, in a move reminiscent of his game-winning touchdown in the playoffs, burned the Steelers with a 71-yard catch-and-run. The touchdown was notable because it was the first touchdown Manning had thrown in the NFL for a team other than the Indianapolis Colts, and it was also the 400th of Manning's career, making Peyton just the 3rd player in NFL history to reach that milestone.
Thomas set regular-season career highs in both catches (9) and yards (180) at New England on October 7, 2012. He tied his career high in catches in games against the Carolina Panthers and the Cleveland Browns. Demaryius registered 3 catches for 37 yards and 1 touchdown in the Broncos' Divisional loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs.
Thomas would go on to have a breakout year in 2012, recording 94 receptions for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns. He led the team in targets, receptions and yards, and ranked 8th in the league in receptions, 4th in yards and 7th in touchdowns. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl in the 2012 season after receiver Wes Welker withdrew due to injury.
Thomas started the season strong, with 5 catches for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns in Week 1 win over Baltimore Ravens. As he had done in Week 1 of the 2012 season, Thomas took a screen pass for a long touchdown. This was Manning's 7th touchdown pass of the game, which tied him with 5 others in NFL history.
Thomas received AFC Offensive Player of the Week honours for the first time in his career in the Broncos' Week 10 win over the San Diego Chargers. He posted 7 receptions, 108 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Demaryius also made other contributions to the Broncos' historic season on offense. He caught Manning's 55th touchdown, which set an NFL record for the most touchdowns thrown by a quarterback in a single season. Manning also broke the single season passing yardage mark on that same pass to Thomas. His 633 yards after catch was 2nd in the entire league. Manning, who said that Thomas "got great speed and power and it’s fun to watch once he gets it in his hands", attributed part of Thomas' success to "all the runs he had to practice at Georgia Tech".
Recording 92 catches for 1430 yards and 14 touchdowns during the 2013 regular season, Thomas ranked 9th in the league for receptions, 4th in yards and 2nd in touchdowns. His 14 touchdowns paced all wideouts in the NFL. Thomas led the team in targets, receptions and yards for the second consecutive year. He also led the team in receiving touchdowns.
Thomas averaged 9.33 receptions and 102 yards per game during the 2013-2014 playoffs, including the Super Bowl. He also scored a touchdown in every single playoff game. Demaryius set an NFL record for most catches in a Super Bowl game by a player, despite reportedly playing most of the game with a separated shoulder.
In 2010, a woman contacted Denver police suspecting she was drugged and raped after being at a party that Thomas attended, in the company of his Bronco's teammate Perrish Cox. A DNA test later proved she was pregnant with Cox's child. Thomas was a prosecution witness and testified that Cox spoke to him before the act, saying that he was going to sleep with the girl and that she had consented before hand and even offered for Thomas to sleep with her instead. However, Thomas said no, that he would have no part of it, that Cox was drunk and that he was messed up; Thomas left the party immediately after the conversation. Later when asked about the conversation, Thomas said that based on Cox's erratic behavior and speech he didn't fully believe Cox was serious, thinking that Cox was having some kind of drunken delusion.
Although Cox was eventually acquitted, the woman filed a civil suit against both Thomas and Cox, suing them, inter alia, for battery, conspiracy and negligence. The claims against Thomas have since been dismissed.
When Thomas was a child, police raided the house where his mother and grandmother lived. His mother and grandmother were both arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison and life in prison respectively for cocaine distribution. They will both watch Super Bowl XLVIII from prison.
Thomas is a Christian. Thomas frequently posts about his faith on his Twitter account. Thomas has a tattoo of a portrait of Jesus with the phrase "Jesus Saves" under the portrait on his left arm.Thomas is also known to be close to his Uncle Good Good who attends every game.
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- Jonathan Heeter, Former rivals enjoying their time as teammates, The Macon Telegraph, November 18, 2007.
- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets bio
- Denver Broncos bio
- ESPN stats