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Josh Heupel adds former SEC staffer to offensive coaching staff

Tennessee head football coach Josh Heupel has added another member to his first-year coaching staff. Heupel has hired Kodi Burns to be the Vols’ new wide receiver coach, Football Scoop’s John Brice reported on Monday morning.

Heupel hired Burns to be UCF’s wide receivers coach just before he became Tennessee’s 27th head football coach. Burns was previously Auburn’s wide receiver coach from 2016-20 under former Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn.

Brice also reported that the rest of Tennessee’s coaching staff could be announced as soon as today. UT athletic director Danny White and Heupel have reportedly discussed introducing the new coaching staff at halftime of Wednesday night’s men’s basketball game between No. 11 Tennessee and Georgia inside of Thompson-Boling Arena.

Burns returned to his alma mater of Auburn in 2016 as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. In 2017, Burns helped developed Ryan Davis, who set an Auburn record with 84 receptions, ranking second in the SEC and 20th nationally in catches per game.

The Fort Smith, Arkansas native was a senior receiver when Auburn won a National Championship in 2013, scoring the opening touchdown of the game in the BCS win over Oregon. Burns served as a graduate assistant for offense in 2013, helping Auburn win another SEC Championship and an appearance in the 2014 BCS National Championship game.

Burns was the running backs coach at Arizona State before his time as a coach at Auburn. In 2015, Burns served as wide receivers coach at Middle Tennessee State, where he mentored Richie James and Ed Battlies. James led Conference USA with 108 receptions and his 1,346 receiving yards were third in the conference. Battlies’ 82 receptions and 1,048 receiving yards ranked fourth and fifth respectively in Conference USA.

Burns was the running backs coach at Samford University in 2014. Under Burns’ guidance, Bulldog ballcarrier Denzel Williams tallied more than 1,000 all-purpose yards, including 918 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, earning all-Southern Conference honors.

In 2013, Burns worked with Auburn’s offense as a graduate assistant. He began his coaching career in 2012 as a graduate assistant at Arkansas State under Gus Malzahn.

From 2007-10, Burns earned four varsity letters at Auburn, excelling in a variety of roles. He was a quarterback his first two seasons at Auburn; in 2007, he became the first Auburn true freshman quarterback to start a game since Gabe Gross in 1998. He moved to wide receiver for the second half of his career, collecting nearly 2,300 total yards and 22 career touchdowns.

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