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Peyton Manning returned to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to recognize the 2018 Peyton Manning Scholars. Since the endowment was created in 1998, 37 students have benefited from the scholarship.

“I always look forward to this event and the opportunity to recognize and reward such exceptional and deserving students,” said Manning. “I am very proud of the growth of this scholarship program and for the resources to help provide many of the same opportunities and chances that I had.”

The Peyton Manning scholarship is awarded annually to first-year students in UT’s Haslam Scholars Program, an initiative that attracts some of the brightest students from across the country. The scholarship is granted to students who demonstrate strong academic achievement, leadership, and community service.

The recipients this year include Ford Brewer, an English major from Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tennessee; Keri Burge, a biological sciences major from Pope John Paul II Catholic High School in Huntsville, Alabama; Kyler Groner, a political science major from Morristown-Hamblen High School in Morristown, Tennessee; and Deanna Riley, a chemical engineering major from Summit High School in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

All four recipients completed honors and AP courses in high school as well as participating in school activities such as band, student council, foreign language clubs, and athletics. Each recipient has also shown a desire to lead and serve their communities by working at food banks, Habitat for Humanity, and the United Way.

The recipients were honored at a reception on Tuesday, where they expressed their gratitude and the impact the scholarship will have on them.

“It feels incredible to be a Peyton Manning Scholar,” said Ford Brewer. “It is surreal and truly an honor. I am going to work as hard as I can to earn the scholarship.”

“Getting this award proves to me that my hard work has paid off,” said Deanna Riley. “It proves to me even more that I have someone like Peyton Manning and other faculty who have put their trust in me to uphold the responsibility to do my best, to be a torchbearer, to shine light on other people and make sure that I use these next four years not only for myself but for my generation, past generations, and future generations.”

“For a long time, I wasn’t really sure about how I was going to pay for college and what I was going to do,” said Kyler Groner. “Then things started to fall into place with the scholarship. It was completely unexpected. I am extremely grateful and thankful for this opportunity.”

Manning, who graduated from UT in 1997 after leading the Vols to an SEC football championship and went on to a storied NFL career, continues to inspire others with his generosity and service.

Media coverage: Associated Press, Fox 17 Nashville


Mallorie Mendence (, 865-974-5801)

Katherine Saxon (, 865-974-8365)