The undersized DeMeco Ryans has the biggest heart in the fight and leads the young and rising Houston Texans defense.
DeMeco Ryans: Early Life
Born on July 28, 1984, in Alabama, DeMeco Ryans grew up in a great football state. Born and bred on Alabama Crimson Tide games, DeMeco Ryans was ecstatic to receive a full-ride scholarship to Alabama after an outstanding career at Jess Lanier high school. DeMeco Ryans did not have great speed, size, or strength, but the heart of DeMeco Ryans sold coaches everywhere on the young player.
DeMeco Ryans: Crimson Tide
Joining the elite Alabama Crimson Tide meant that DeMeco Ryans had to earn his spot. As a freshman, DeMeco Ryans made a quick impression on coaches by doing whatever was asked of him. From covering kicks and punts to fight hard on scout team, DeMeco Ryans showed his hunger for the game of football. This work ethic moved DeMeco Ryans up the depth chart steadily and drew the admiration of teammates and fans. The starting job at OLB was his by his sophomore year.
The 2005 NCAA season saw DeMeco Ryans as the leader of the Alabama Crimson Tide defense. Already pushing for several tackling records, DeMeco Ryans exploded more than even he could imagine. In addition to being a first team All-American, DeMeco Ryans also won the SEC Defensive Player of the Year Award, the Lott Trophy, and a slew of others. DeMeco Ryans also became the defensive MVP of the 2006 Cotton Bowl. The work ethic and awards all gave a lot of attention to the aggressive but humble DeMeco Ryans.
DeMeco Ryans: 2006 NFL Draft
DeMeco Ryans did not put up impressive stats at the NFL Combine and many LBs like A.J. Hawk and Chad Greenway stole the spotlight. The one team that did not sleep on DeMeco Ryans was the Houston Texans. New head coach Gary Kubiak knew that the Houston Texans needed to rid themselves of the culture of losing, and a fiery leader with unmatched heart would be the perfect addition to the Houston Texans roster. Fans with Houston Texans tickets were so floored with the drafting of Mario Williams that many didn't even recognize the Alabama OLB taken in round two.
DeMeco Ryans: Rookie of the Year
The Houston Texans 2006 draft class was one of the best in recent memory and gave the struggling team several building blocks for the future. Because he was not the fastest player on the field, the Houston Texans moved DeMeco Ryans from OLB to MLB, where his natural football instincts and tackling ability could be used in close-quarters action. Veteran MLB Sam Cowart was originally going to start for the Houston Texans, but DeMeco Ryans unseated him in preseason play and took the tough job of NFL MLB on as a rookie.
While the national media focused on the struggles of DE Mario Williams, fans with Houston Texans tickets began to focus on the wrecking ball wearing the No. 59 jersey at the heart of the defense. Even without a "blazing" 40 time, DeMeco Ryans always managed to either be making a tackle or in the same picture of Houston Texans making the play. Even with a mediocre defense around him in both the front seven and the secondary, DeMeco Ryans still managed to rack up 156 tackles and 3.5 sacks. This leadership and heart earned DeMeco Ryans the NFL Rookie Defensive Player of the Year Award.
DeMeco Ryans: Pro Bowler
As the 2007 NFL season approached, the only football property in Houston hotter than Houston Texans tickets was DeMeco Ryans jerseys. The Houston Texans named DeMeco Ryans one of their team captains, and the MLB did not disappoint his teammates or coaches. As Mario Williams emerged as a monster in 2007, DeMeco Ryans found himself with the ability to make even more plays as blockers were forced to hem in Super Mario. The result of this improving defense and a great respect for the Houston Texans was a trip to the 2007 Pro Bowl for DeMeco Ryans.
DeMeco Ryans: 2008 NFL Season
DeMeco Ryans enters the 2008 NFL as an All-Pro and the favorite player of all fans with Houston Texans tickets. Poor defensive-line play ahead of him has caused the MLB some problems and he is suffering from the same scheme problems that his idol Ray Lewis experienced at times in his career. The lack of size at the defensive tackle position for the Houston Texans lets opponents get multiple blockers in the face of DeMeco Ryans. Despite these problems, DeMeco Ryans continues to lead the Houston Texans in tackles and never gives up on a play.
Fans with Houston Texans tickets can also take heart in fact that OLB Zac Diles has come on as a great player. With a legitimate second linebacker in the Houston Texans defense, opposing offenses will have to shift their blocks away from DeMeco Ryans and will open up the backside of plays once more. DeMeco Ryans is a favorite to return to the Pro Bowl as the young Houston Texans defense continues to improve around him.