Ryans, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound senior, led Alabama in tackles this season and was the Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year. He graduated from school in seven semesters with a 3.7 grade point average.
The Lott Trophy, based on personal character as well as performance, is named after Ronnie Lott, a Hall of Fame defensive back who starred at Southern California and was an All-Pro in the NFL.
Voting for the winner was conducted by Ernst & Young, with ballots being sent to college offensive and defensive coordinators, national media and The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation Board of Directors, a board of advisers made up of former NFL players, and coaches.
There were 42 players on the original watch list this season.
Alabama will receive $25,000 from The Pacific Club's IMPACT Foundation for its general scholarship fund.
No. 13 Alabama (9-2) will play No. 18 Texas Tech (9-2) in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2.