Peyton Manning Gatecrashes Online Class at University of Tennessee, Calls for Students to Help People Suffering from Coronavirus

University of Tennessee students experienced an unexpected disruption on Thursday when their class was gatecrashed by one of the school's most famous alumni, Peyton Manning.

Earlier this week, Tennessee moved all of its classes online for the remainder of the semester to comply with social distancing measures implemented because of the coronavirus outbreak. On Thursday, students taking the Communications 499 class were surprised by Manning, who dropped into the online session to give out some advice to the seniors who are spending their final year in college in unprecedented circumstances.

During his time in college, Manning took the same class taught by professor John Haas, whose lesson he interrupted on Thursday.

"I realize this is probably not the ideal way you guys expected to spend your senior year," he told the students. "I just encourage you to keep a positive attitude, keep working like you're doing and try to take a little bit of the extra time you have to accomplish something else or help out somebody in need. There are a lot of people hurting out there during this time.

"Be thankful for what you have and just know the University of Tennessee is proud of you and going to support you every way they can, and Dr. Haas and his department are going to do the same thing."

Shortly after the former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback crashed the class, a video of his appearance was circulated on Twitter. The footage shows the students' surprise at seeing a bonafide NFL legend taking part in their class, with a few of them taking pictures to capture what in all likelihood will be a once-in-a-lifetime moment.

Peyton Manning crashed an online class at Tennessee and it was perfect 😂

(via @UTKnoxville)

— ESPN (@espn) March 26, 2020

While his father was a quarterback for Ole Miss, Manning committed to Tennessee in 1993 and was one of the school's most famous ever alumni by the time he left Knoxville four years later, before being was selected as the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft.

Manning could have declared for the draft in 1997, but passed on the opportunity in favor of returning to Knoxville for his senior year.

During his four seasons with Tennessee, Manning won 39 of the 45 games he started and became the school's all-time leading passer with 11,201 yards and 89 touchdowns.

A consensus All-American in 1997, the two-time Super Bowl winner led the Volunteers to the SEC Championship and had his No. 16 jersey retired by the school in 2005.

Peyton Manning, Tennessee
Peyton Manning talks with fans before the Tennessee Volunteers play against the Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium on October 5 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Silas Walker/Getty