New York -- Former Alabama All-American DeMeco Ryans was named the Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Ryans won by a landslide, 31 votes ahead of former Alabama teammate and current Chicago Bears defensive lineman Mark Anderson who finished in second place with five votes.
Ryans was the Houston Texans' second round draft pick after his All-American season in 2005 with the Tide. The Texans' rookie led the NFL in solo tackles with 126. He recorded 156 total tackles, leading all NFL rookies, the next closest was Detroit linebacker Ernie Sims with 123. Ryans tallied more tackles this season than any rookie in the last 20 years.
"I played in a big game atmosphere in college at Alabama" Ryans said. "I was comfortable from the time I began in the NFL. Nothing really shocked me going through the year because I was used to that."
Ryans joins an impressive list of past winners including former Alabama star Derrick Thomas (1989), Julius Peppers (2002), Brian Urlacher (2000), Jevon Kearse (1999), Simeon Rice (1996), Lawrence Taylor (1981), and Joe Green (1969) just to name a few . He also becomes the first Texans player to win an individual award since the team's inception in 2002.
"It's always nice to be touted as one of the best and have a big-time stat, but I credit that to the other 10 guys around me on defense" Ryans said. "We would not be talking about me without those other 10 guys out there."
Ryans received 36 of the 50 votes submitted by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters that cover the NFL.