John W. McDonough for SI

Auburn has hired Arizona State running backs coach Kodi Burns, according to a source. Burns was a player for the Tigers from 2007–10.

By Thayer Evans
February 15, 2016

Arizona State running backs coach Kodi Burns has left to join the staff of Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, according to a source.

It’s a return to Auburn for Burns, who played for the Tigers from 2007–10 with Malzahn as his offensive coordinator the final two years. Auburn won the BCS national title in Burns’s final season, beating Oregon 22–19 with the help of a 35-yard touchdown catch from Burns.

The Fort Smith, Ark., product 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.

A bright young offensive mind, the 27-year-old Burns was hired as Arizona State’s running backs coach early in January, joining new Sun Devils offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Chip Lindsey. They were together at Auburn in 2013 when Lindsey was an offensive analyst and Burns was an offensive graduate assistant.

Burns spent the 2015 season as Middle Tennessee State’s wide receivers coach. He tutored Richie James, who led Conference USA in receptions (108) and was third in receiving yards (1,346); and Ed’Marques Battlies, who was fourth in the league in catches (82) and fifth in receiving yards (1,048 yards).

In 2014, Burns was Sanford’s running backs coach, helping the Bulldogs average 4.4 yards per carry. Previously, Burns had been a graduate assistant under Gus Malzahn at Arkansas State (2012) and Auburn (2013).

Auburn ended its 2015 season with a 31–10 rout of Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl, finishing the season 7–6. Malzahn has a 27–13 record in his three seasons as Auburn’s head coach.

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