Ryans, who has started for the Texans since they selected him in the second round of the 2006 draft, pledged $300,000 for the scholarship, which will go to a Crimson Tide football player studying in the university's Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration.
"I have always wanted to do this since the day I left," Ryans, 26, said in a statement released by the university. "The University of Alabama is such a special place to me, and I am honored to have the opportunity to endow a scholarship. I had a great time here, and I grew as a person here. This is a great time for me, and I am very excited."
Ryans, an All-American linebacker and Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2005, graduated cum laude in December 2005 with a bachelor's in business marketing. He received the NCAA's Top VIII Award, which recognizes achievement in athletics, scholarship and community service, and the Lott Trophy, which honors a defensive player for his character and on-field accomplishments. Ryans also was a finalist for the Butkus (best linebacker), Draddy (so-called academic Heisman) and Nagurski (top defensive player) awards.
"DeMeco Ryans made a tremendous difference as one of the finest players to ever wear crimson and white," university president Robert E. Witt said in the statement. "With this gift, he will continue to make a tremendous impact for the team and the university."
Ryans was the Associated Press' NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006, when he totaled 155 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He earned Pro Bowl selections in 2007 and 2009. His 2010 season was cut short when he ruptured his left Achilles' tendon during an Oct. 17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.