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DeMeco Ryans Named SEC Defensive Player of the Year


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The University of Alabama senior linebacker DeMeco Ryans (Bessemer) has been named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year by the SEC head coaches, the league office announced on Wednesday.

Ryans played in 11 games and led UA with 69 tackles.  He was second on the team with 3 1/2 sacks (-31) and 13 tackles for loss (-46) this year.  He also added four quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles, two PBUs, one interception and one fumble recovery.  Ryans is fifth all-time at Alabama with 300 career tackles.

Ryans anchored an Alabama defense that ranked first nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 10.7 points per game.  The Crimson Tide will likely finish the 2005 season with the fewest points allowed since the 1996 defense gave up 143 points (11.0 per game). 

The Crimson Tide defense leads the SEC in pass defense (154.8), total defense (248.4) and pass efficiency defense (97.0) and ranks second in the league in rushing defense (93.5).

He had stellar games against Arkansas and Tennessee during his senior season.  Against the Razorbacks, Ryans led all tacklers with 15 stops, including one sack (-5) and three TFLs (-9).  He also added a two-yard fumble return that set up a third quarter field goal, one PBU and one QB pressure.

Against Tennessee, Ryans had 11 tackles, one fumble recovery and one interception.  His fumble recovery at the UT 49-yard line set up the Crimson Tide's first field goal in the third quarter.  His interception and seven-yard return on the last play from scrimmage sealed Bama's 6-3 win.

For his efforts, he was named the Walter Camp Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week and the SEC Defensive Player of the Week.

In other football news on Wednesday, redshirt freshmen Antoine Caldwell (Montgomery) and B.J. Stabler (Grove Hill) were named to the Freshman All-America teams. Caldwell was a second-team selection, while Stabler was a third-team pick.

Caldwell started all 11 games this season at left guard.  He made his Crimson Tide debut in the 2005 season opener against Middle Tennessee.  Caldwell played 705 snaps this season, including a season-high 84 in the win over Southern Miss.

Stabler played in 10 games this season and made nine starts.  He made his Alabama debut against Southern Miss and recorded his first career start the following week against South Carolina.  He played 609 snaps, including a season-high 69 in that initial start against South Carolina.