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Who is DeMeco Ryans? Texans pick 49ers defensive coordinator, former Houston player as new head coach

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DeMeco Ryans is coming home.

The 38-year-old, much lauded for his work with the 49ers defense, is making his foray into the head coaching world after being hired by the Texans, according to multiple reports. It represents more than just a gig for Ryans, who starred with the franchise for six seasons.

Ryans was arguably the most highly sought-after defensive coordinator on the market. Now he gets his chance with a Houston team still searching for its identity.

MORE: NFL Mock Draft 2023

Here’s what you need to know about Ryans, one of the most promising young coaches around the NFL.

Who is DeMeco Ryans?

Alongside Mario Williams, Andre Johnson and Duane Brown, Ryans helped set the standard by which future stars like Brian Cushing and J.J. Watt were measured.

Ryans bagged Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2006. He added to the accolades in ‘07, even notching a second-team All-Pro nod after racking up 127 combined tackles.

Ryans remained a fixture in Houston’s front seven until 2012, when he joined the Eagles, where he would finish up his career.

Ryans’ football story was far from being finished, however. The then-32-year-old accepted a role on the 49ers staff in 2017, filling in as a defensive quality control coach. Ryans made his way up the coaching ladder fairly quickly, being promoted to inside linebackers coach in 2018 before taking the reins as San Francisco’s defensive coordinator after Robert Saleh left for the Jets in 2021.

The Gold Rush defense has proceeded to lock opponents down in the two years since Ryans was appointed as DC. In 2022, the Niners were the best defensive team in football, holding opponents to just 17.2 points per game.

San Francisco swallowed opposition offenses whole. And ultimately, it made Ryans, who was considered for the Vikings’ head coaching vacancy last year, all the more attractive to general managers.

He interviewed with a host of organizations, including the Broncos and Texans. It seems his talks with Houston ownership, as well as general manager Nick Caserio, has progressed quickly, with the heralded defensive mind nabbing the head coaching position after Lovie Smith was fired.

Ryans is a promising presence in Houston’s locker room, one that has already cemented his legacy for the franchise. He’s earned numerous plaudits for the way he handles players. In fact, Ryans’ appointment has already caught Houston players’ attentions.

“Players have expressed excitement over DeMeco,” a source told earlier in the week.

The homecoming is nigh for Ryans. For Texans fans, meanwhile, they’ll be hoping Ryans’ hire spurns a change of fortune for the beleaguered franchise, which has waded in mediocrity for much of the past two years.


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