Ryans Is SEC's Best

Alabama linebacker DeMeco Ryans has been selected by the coaches of the Southeastern Conference as the top defensive player in the league this season. The SEC announced individual honorees Wednesday, a day after the coaches' All-SEC team was announced. The Freshman All-SEC team will be announced Thursday.

Alabama linebacker DeMeco Ryans has been one of the most highly-honored players in the nation this year as a finalist for numerous awards. He had previously been named SEC Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press and is an All-America and finalist for several top athletic and academic honors.

The SEC coaches also selected Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler as the offensive player of the year and LSU return specialist Skyler Green as the special teams player of the year.

LSU center Rudy Niswanger was named the SEC's scholar-athlete and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden the top freshman performer. Auburn offensive tackle Marcus McNeill was named Jacobs Trophy winner as the top blocker in the conference and Georgia's Mark Richt was voted coach of the year.

All six student-athletes were named first-team All-SEC by the league's coaches in voting that was announced on Tuesday.

Ryans, a senior from Bessemer, led the Crimson Tide with 69 tackles. He was second on the team with 3.5 sacks (-31) and 13 tackles for loss (-46) this year. He also added four quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles, two pass breakups, one interception and one fumble recovery. Ryans is fifth all-time at Alabama with 300 career tackles. He was the leader of a defense that topped the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 10.7 points per game. The Alabama defense also led the SEC in pass defense (154.8 yards per game), total defense (248.4 yards per game) and second in rushing defense (93.5 yards per game).

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