In 1997, Takeo Spikes led the Tigers with 136 tackles. He recorded 79 tackles in his last six games and was a Butkus semi-finalist two-straight years. Rated by The Sporting News as one of the top four inside linebackers in the nation, Spikes tied his career-high with 18 tackles against Florida, 14 solo. Also in his junior season, Spikes had two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown. In 1996, Spikes received the Zeke Smith Award as Auburn's Defensive Player of the Year and the Mike Kolen Award as Auburn's leading tackler. Spikes passed up his senior season to enter the 1998 NFL draft, after being named as a first-team All-American by The Sporting News.