Peyton Manning's unique blend of smarts and athletic talent made him one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game of football.
And after tons of accolades over the years celebrating his athletic achievements, Manning on Thursday night was recognized for his academic successes as a standout student-athlete at the University of Tennessee.
Manning was one of four who were formally inducted into the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.
"When I enrolled at the University of Tennessee I aspired to be the best student possible academically as well as the best athlete possible on the field," Manning said in a release. "I admire all other individuals who achieved this status as well and I am honored again to join such a select group of former student athletes who are entering the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame."
The CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame was created in 1988 and recognizes "former Academic All-Americas who received a college degree at least 10 years ago, have achieved lifetime success in their professional careers, and are committed to philanthropic causes."
Here's exactly what Manning was able to accomplish while at Tennessee and since, both on and off the field, via the CoSIDA Academic All-America website:
Prior to his standout NFL career, as the quarterback at the University of Tennessee, Manning epitomized the term "student-athlete." In addition to setting 43 records at the school, conference and national levels, he graduating with Phi Beta Kappa honors. Manning was an Academic All-America® and Academic All-SEC selection in 1996 and 1997. By his junior year in 1996, he had earned enough credits to graduate, but bypassed the NFL draft that year to return to the Vol football team.
As a college senior, he was a First Team All-American, the Maxwell Award Winner, the Davey O'Brien Award Winner, the Johnny Unitas Award Winner, and the Best College Player Award Winner.
He led Tennessee to an SEC Championship as a senior in 1997 and earned consensus All-America honors. Following his senior season, Manning was honored with the Sullivan Award for the nation's top amateur athlete based on character, leadership, athletic ability and the ideals of amateurism.
Manning was selected by the Colts as the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft and went on to help transform Indianapolis into consistent playoff contenders, leading them to eight division championships, two AFC championships, and one Super Bowl title. Manning then spent four seasons in Denver (2012-15), where he led the Broncos to two Super Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl 50 victory. He also earned MVP honors following the 2013 season.
Peyton and Ashley Manning established the PeyBack Foundation in 1999 to promote the future success of disadvantaged youth by assisting programs that provide leadership and growth opportunities for children at risk. The Foundation has become a consistent and viable contributor in Colorado, Indiana, Tennessee, Louisiana and beyond providing more than $13 million in grants and programs since its inception.
Among his charitable and community service national recognitions, Manning was honored as the recipient of the Byron "Whizzer" White Humanitarian Award and the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2005, the Bart Starr Award in 2015, and the Lincoln Medal in 2017. In February of 2018, Manning became the 10th recipient of the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football, which honors the legacy of Lamar Hunt, the Chiefs' founder. The award aims to recognize those who have helped to shape the NFL.
Those joining Manning in the Class of 2018 on Thursday were civil rights icon and sociologist Harry Edwards, Ph.D., former Washington State and Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson and former Florida International and Major League Baseball standout Mike Lowell.