As we continue our march to kickoff, we take a look at the top 100 recruits to sign with Auburn of all-time*. The rankings are based on 247’s composite recruit rankings, which unfortunately only date back to 2000.
Neiko Thorpe was one of the last major recruits of the Tommy Tuberville era. The Tucker, GA native was the highest rated recruit of Auburn’s 2008 class and one of only two members of that class on our top 100 list.
Thorpe would make an immediate impact not just in his freshman season, but in his first game. He racked up 7 total tackles in the season opener against ULM. He would match that number and add a 59-yard interception return against Arkansas. He added a 42-yard interception return to help seal the Tigers last win of the season over UT-Martin.
After his freshman season and a move to safety, Thorpe would register a stat in every game Auburn played from 2009 to 2011 except one, the 2010 Georgia game. In 2009, he had 84 tackles and 2 interceptions with 9 pass-breakups. His best game had to be the Outback Bowl win over Northwestern. Thorpe, along with linebackers Josh Bynes and Craig Stevens, played all 115 snaps the Wildcats took in that game. He had 14 tackles, 13 solo, and an interception. On snap number 115, Thorpe correctly read Northwestern’s fake field goal and nailed the holder at the two yard line, finally giving Auburn the win.
With more depth in the secondary in 2010, Thorpe didn’t have to play as many snaps. He managed 64 total tackles with 9 passes defended. His best two games came against Arkansas, where he had 10 solo tackles, and Alabama, where he had 12 total tackles and 2 passes defended, including Alabama’s final snap.
Neiko finished his Auburn career starting every game in 2011 with career highs in tackles (101) and interceptions (3). He finished his career in the Peach Bowl win over Virginia tying a season-high with 8 solo tackles.
Thorpe wasn’t a particularly flashy player, but he was a steady force in Auburn’s secondary for 4 years.
Thorpe went undrafted in 2012, but he caught on with the Chiefs practice squad, and bounced between the full roster and practice squad several times in 2012. He was part of the final cuts in 2013 and didn’t get picked up that season, but the Oakland Raiders gave him a chance after the season with a future/reserve contract. He appeared in 14 games in 2014 and another 14 in 2015 after being re-signed. The Raiders would re-sign him again in 2016, but waive him in September. He was signed by the Colts but waived just 3 days later. One week later, he was picked up by the Seahawks. After the whirlwind of September 2016, Neiko has been a member of the Seahawks the last 3 seasons, and he is signed for the upcoming season as well.