Tuesday, the Houston Texans agreed to a six-year contract with former Alabama linebacker DeMeco Ryans to be their next head coach. The hiring of Ryans, 38, ended a three-week coaching search for the Texans making Ryans the fourth Texans head coach in as many years, a trend that both Ryans and the Texans hope stops there.

Ryans grew up in Bessemer playing his high school ball at Jess Lanier High School, where his play earned him a scholarship to the University of Alabama. Ryans played linebacker for coach Mike Shula and the Crimson Tide from 2002 to 2005, where he worked his way up, improving every year to eventually becoming SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.

After college, DeMeco Ryans played in the NFL for 10 years with the Texans and the Eagles. Ryans was selected by the Houston Texans 33rd overall in the 2006 NFL Draft and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year after finishing second in the NFL in tackles with 156. Ryans played six seasons with the Texans and is currently the franchise’s all-time leader in tackles with 479.

Following his NFL playing career, Ryans started his coaching career, working his way up in the San Francisco organization beginning in 2017 as defensive quality control coach, all the way up to defensive coordinator in 2021. In his first season as defensive coordinator, Ryans had his defense ranked fourth in the NFL and improved his defense even more in his second season, with his defensive unit finishing first in the league in defense.

Ryans will be stuck with a big task trying to fix the worst team in the NFL, with an offense that finished 30th in the league and a defense that finished 27th. One bright spot for Ryans is that the Texans have two high first-round picks with the 2nd and 12th pick overall. The Texans most certainly need a quarterback, and if the pieces fall just right, the former Alabama linebacker could find himself coaching a former Alabama and Heisman-winning quarterback, Bryce Young.

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