Burns replaces Justin Watts, who left the Blue Raiders after nine seasons to become the wide receivers coach at Appalachian State. In Burns’ lone season coaching Samford’s running backs, the Bulldogs averaged 4.4 yards per carry led by running back Denzel Williams, who rushed 176 times for 877 yards with 16 touchdowns.
Before joining head coach Pat Sullivan’s staff at Samford, Burns worked under Gus Malzahn as a graduate assistant for two season, first at Arkansas State in 2012 before following Malzahn to Auburn in ’13.
Burns played for the Tigers from 2007-10 with Malzahn as his offensive coordinator for the latter two years. Auburn won the BCS national title in Burns’ final season, beating Oregon 22-19 with the help of a 35-yard touchdown catch from Burns. He caught 11 passes for 177 yards that season. Burns spent his first two seasons with the Tigers as an option quarterback, including seven starts under center in 2008.
He takes over a Middle Tennessee wide receivers group that returns its top two targets. Ed’Marques Batties and Marcus Henry combined for 95 catches and 1,001 yards with seven touchdowns in 2014 as the Blue Raiders went 6-6 and 5-3 in the Conference USA.