As Alabama football stars go, few have made as unlikely a rise to the top of the game as DeMeco…
DeMeco Ryans Lives Up To Reputation
Readers of 'BAMA Magazine had the opportunity to select four linebackers when they chose the Team of the Decade for the first ten years of the New Millennium (2000-2009). One of those selected was DeMeco Ryans of Bessemer, who played for the Crimson Tide 2002-05. He came to Bama from Jess Lanier High School.
Ryans ended his Alabama career being named Defensive Player of the Game in the Cotton Bowl as the Crimson Tide held the high-powered Texas Tech offense to only 10 points in a 13-10 Bama win.
He was a four-year letterman and three-year starter at strongside linebacker.
Ryans was an All-America as a senior and was recipient of the Lott Award as the nation's best defensive player. He was SEC Player of the Year and a finalist for the Butkus, Bednarik, Lombardi, andNagurski awards for football and a finalist for the Draddy Award for scholarship.
He led Bama in tackles as a senior with 69, including 15 against Arkansas. He was second on the team in tackles as a junior with 78. As a sophomore he led Bama in tackles with 126 (including a Tide record 25 against Arkansas) and was one of three men on the team to have over 100 tackles, a first in Bama history. (Roman Harper had 111 and Derrick Pope 105).
Ryans has continued his excellent play as a member of the Houston Texans. In his first pro game he recorded a league-high 12 solo tackles. At the end of the 2006 season he was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after finishing second in the league in tackles with 155. He has twice been named All-Pro and selected for the Pro Bowl.
Editor's Note: This is one in a series on members of the Alabama Team of the Decade.