Peyton Manning

LAWRENCE, KANSAS - JANUARY 25: Former NFL quarterback Payton Manning attends a basketball game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Kansas Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse on January 25, 2020 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

KNOXVILLE, TN (WSMV) – The University of Tennessee Knoxville, like many other universities across the country, have transitioned to virtual learning styles and classroom setting as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

At one UT class, a football legend and UT alum decided to “stop by” a class held through Zoom to offer words of encouragement.

Football legend Peyton Manning digitally dropped by Dr. John Haas’ communication studies senior capstone class, much to the surprise of the entire class.

The class is part of what UT leaders are calling VFL Class Crash.

Manning offered words of encouragement to students now experiencing a brand new reality.

“I realize this is a unique time and probably not the ideal way you guys expected to spend your senior year,” Manning said. “I just encourage you to keep a positive attitude, keep doing what you’re doing and try to take advantage of the little bit of extra time you have to accomplish something else or help somebody in need.”

Manning, a two-time Super Bowl champion, former All-American and future Hall of Famer graduated from Tennessee in 1997 with a degree in communication studies and Dr. Haas was one of his favorite professors.

“Be thankful for what you have and just know the University of Tennessee is proud of you and is going to support you every way they can,” Manning said. “Dr. Haas and his department are going to do the same thing.” is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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WSMV Digital Content Producer

A New York City native and a graduate of the Mizzou School of Journalism, Ethan joined the WSMV Digital Team in June 2019. Send him story ideas, food recommendations and sports topics to and follow him on Twiiter @EthanIllers_TV!

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