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Meet the New Orleans Saints coaches: Kodi Burns

Burns is entering his second season with the New Orleans Saints


Kodi Burns enters his second season as New Orleans' wide receivers coach after originally joining the team in 2022. Burns coached at the collegiate level for 10 seasons prior to joining the Black and Gold.

In 2022, Burns coached a group that was led by a pair of standout rookies in Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed. Olave, the 11th overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, became only the second Saints rookie to lead the team in receiving (72 catches), receiving yardage (1,042 yards) and yards per catch (14.5 avg.) and only the third to reach the 1,000-yard mark. Olave was a PFWA All-Rookie selection. Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Weber State, Shaheed caught 28 passes for 488 yards (17.4 avg.) with two touchdowns and added four carries for 57 yards with a 44-yard touchdown in only 12 games.

Burns served as wide receivers coach at the University of Tennessee in 2021. He was instrumental in the development of redshirt junior Cedric Tillman, who had 64 receptions for 1,081 yards and 12 touchdowns as he was selected as Phil Steele second-team All-SEC, becoming the first Volunteer to reach 1,000 receiving yards since 2012. In a shootout against College Football Playoff champion Georgia, Tillman had 10 receptions for 200 yards and one touchdown. He also hauled in seven receptions for 152 yards and one touchdown against CFP finalist Alabama. Tillman capped his historic season with a standout performance at the Music City Bowl vs. Purdue, bringing in seven catches for 150 yards and three touchdowns. Burns also garnered impressive production out of Velus Jones Jr., who in his graduate transfer sixth-year caught 62 passes for 807 yards with seven touchdowns and ranked third in the conference with 1,772 all-purpose yards, earning Phil Steele third-team All-Conference.

Burns served six years on the coaching staff at Auburn, where he won a national title as a player and a Southeastern Conference championship as a player and coach. The Fort Smith, Ark., native was co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach from 2016-20 after first serving as a graduate assistant in 2013, adding the role of passing game coordinator from 2019-20. During his tenure, nine Auburn offensive players were selected in the NFL Draft, including two wide receivers in 2021. Anthony Schwartz was a third round selection by Cleveland after totaling 1,433 career receiving yards on 117 catches with six touchdowns from 2018-20. Seth Williams went in the sixth round to the Denver Broncos after recording 47 receptions for 760 yards (16.2 avg.) with four touchdowns. It marked the first time since 2006 multiple Tiger wide receivers were taken in a single draft. In addition, Darius Slayton was a 2019 selection by the New York Giants under Burns' watch after catching 35 passes for 670 yards (19.1 avg.) and five touchdowns in 2018. Also in 2018, Ryan Davis finished his career as Auburn's all-time receptions leader (178) and Williams led the SEC and ranked tenth nationally as a freshman in yards per reception.

In 2017, Auburn became just the eighth team in SEC history to rush and pass for 3,000 yards in a season, while setting a school record with 327 points in conference play. Burns played a key role on a squad that captured the SEC West championship with a 7-1 conference record and finished 10th nationally in the final Associated Press poll, mentoring Davis, who set an Auburn record with 84 receptions, ranking second in the SEC and 20th nationally in catches per game.

Burns' first season back at Auburn in 2016 saw 13 receivers catch a pass of at least 20 yards, while posting the fourth-highest total offensive yard mark in school history (5,730), as they captured a Sugar Bowl berth.

Burns spent 2015 as wide receivers coach at Middle Tennessee. He mentored Richie James, who led Conference USA with 108 receptions and his 1,346 receiving yards were third as he was named first-team Freshman All-America by both the Football Writers Association of America and USA Today, as well as a first-team All-Conference USA selection. Ed Batties' 82 receptions and 1,048 receiving yards ranked fourth and fifth, respectively in the conference, as he was voted second-team All-Conference USA.

Burns served as running backs coach at Samford in 2014. Under his guidance, Bulldog tailback Denzel Williams tallied more than 1,000 all-purpose yards, including 918 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, earning All-Southern Conference. Burns began his coaching career in 2012 as a graduate assistant at Arkansas State.

Burns earned four letters at Auburn (2007-10), excelling in a variety of roles. He was a quarterback his first two seasons. In 2007, he became the first Tiger true freshman quarterback to start a game since 1998. He moved to wide receiver for the second half of his career, collecting nearly 2,300 total yards and 22 career touchdowns. As a senior wideout in 2010, he guided Auburn to a perfect 14-0 season and the national title, scoring the opening touchdown on a 35-yard pass reception in a BCS National Championship Game win over Oregon. Burns earned his bachelor's degree in exercise science in 2011.

PLAYING CAREER: Auburn, 2007-10.

COACHING CAREER: Arkansas State, 2012; Auburn, 2013; Samford, 2014; Middle Tennessee, 2015; Auburn, 2016-20; Tennessee, 2021; New Orleans Saints, 2022-.

Kodi Burns Coaching Career

Table inside Article
Team Position Held Years
Arkansas State (college) Graduate Assistant Coach 2012
Auburn (college) Graduate Assistant Coach 2013
Samford (college) Running Backs Coach 2014
Middle Tennessee (college) Wide Receivers Coach 2015
Auburn (college) Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach 2016-18
Auburn (college) Passing Game Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach 2019-20
Tennessee (college) Wide Receivers Coach 2021
New Orleans Saints Wide Receivers Coach 2022-present

New Orleans Saints rookies for the upcoming 2023 NFL season tour the city of New Orleans for the second time as they enjoy some down time ahead of Saints Training Camp.

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