As Alabama football stars go, few have made as unlikely a rise to the top of the game as DeMeco Ryans. A native of Bessemer, Ala., Ryans rose from a three-star recruit to Consensus All-America status for the Crimson Tide as a senior linebacker in 2005.
Ryans, one of the Tide's most decorated players on and off the field, was the prototype of the modern student-athlete, and he continues to make a difference in his hometown of Bessemer and at the University of Alabama. Ryans announced today a pledge for a scholarship gift of $300,000 to endow a full scholarship in Ryans' name for a deserving football student-athlete studying in the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration.
"DeMeco Ryans made a tremendous difference as one of the finest players to ever wear Crimson and White," said University of Alabama President Dr. Robert E. Witt. "With this gift he will continue to make a tremendous impact for the team and the University."
"I am so very proud of one of our former players giving back," said Mal Moore, Director of Athletics. "DeMeco's generosity is the latest example of the support that so many of our former football players have given us throughout the years."
"I have always wanted to do this since the day I left," Ryans said. "The University of Alabama is such a special place to me, and I am honored to have the opportunity to endow a scholarship. I had a great time here, and I grew as a person here. This is a great time for me, and I am very excited."
Ryans was a cum laude graduate of the University, receiving his bachelor's degree in Business Marketing in December of 2005. In January of 2006, Ryans was awarded the NCAA's Top VIII Award, recognizing outstanding achievement in athletics, scholarship and community service and given each year to only eight student-athletes nationwide.
As a student-athlete at Alabama, Ryans was the recipient of the 2005 Lott Trophy and was a four-time Academic All-SEC selection after graduating in just seven semesters. He closed his collegiate career with 307 career tackles, fifth on the Tide's all-time list. He was the 2006 Cotton Bowl Defensive Most Valuable Player in a victory over Texas Tech. Ryans was named a 2005 Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar. In 2005, Ryans was also a finalist for the Bednarik, Butkus, Draddy, Lombardi and Nagurski awards, as well as being named the 2005 SEC Player of the Year. He started 37 career games at Alabama before being drafted by the Houston Texans in the second round of the NFL Draft with the 33rd pick overall.
Ryans has continued to make an impact in his hometown of Bessemer, creating the DeMeco Ryans Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to create innovative programs that provide access to educational, recreational and healthy living initiatives designed to positively aid in the development of youth.
The Athletic Department at the University of Alabama is fully self-supporting. UA athletics receives no funding from the state of Alabama. Private support through the Crimson Tide Foundation enables UA athletics to increase its standing, in both athletics and academics, over competing universities beyond what can be accomplished with annual revenue from ticket sales, media rights and other licensing agreements.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the DeMeco Ryans Scholarship to donate to the Demeco Ryans Football Scholarship may do so at this link: