Peyton Manning is helping Demaryius Thomas' legacy live on at Georgia Tech -- the Hall of Famer just announced he's establishing a scholarship program at GT ... all to benefit the hometown of his late friend and teammate.

The Broncos legend shared the news on Wednesday ... saying his family's PeyBack Foundation is partnering up with DT's alma mater to launch the Demaryius A. Thomas Scholarship Endowment.

"An important part of Demaryius' legacy was the way he inspired the next generation to pursue their dreams with the same perseverance and determination that defined him," Manning said.

The scholarships (full and partial) will be for students in Laurens County, Georgia -- where DT was born and raised -- who plan on attending Georgia Tech.