Kenni Burns
Kenni  Burns

Running Backs Coach

Alma Mater:


Get to Know Kenni Burns


Fleck Announces Coaching Staff

Head coach P.J. Fleck announced the hiring of nine assistant coaches, four staff members

Kenni Burns was named running backs coach at the University of Minnesota in January 2017.

In 2017, Rodney Smith, Shannon Brooks, Kobe McCrary and Jonathan Femi-Cole rushed 411 times for 1,884 yards and 16 touchdowns under Burns. The quartet rarely lost yardage as well as they totaled only 67 negative rushing yards all season. Smith, Brooks and McCrary also caught passes out of the backfield and combined to catch 24 balls (21 percent of team total) for 193 yards (12 percent of team total). 

Burns came to Minnesota after spending one season at Western Michigan coaching the running backs.

In 2016, Burns coached two running backs who each amassed more than 900 yards in Jarvion Franklin and Jamauri Bogan. Franklin rushed 248 times for 1,353 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Bogan gained 923 yards on 179 carries and scored eight times. Franklin ranked third in the MAC in rushing and 26th in the nation, while Bogan finished sixth in the conference in rushing. Franklin was named All-MAC Second Team and set a Bronco single-game record with 281 rushing yards against Akron.

Prior to his year at Western Michigan, Burns coached at Wyoming, North Dakota State and Southern Illinois and was a three-year letter winner at Indiana.

Burns was Wyoming’s receivers coach and passing game coordinator in 2014. Wyoming totaled 2,733 receiving yards in that season and four different players caught more than 20 passes. He also had seven receivers average over 13.0 yards per catch.

Burns coached receivers at North Dakota State from 2010-13 and was also the Bison recruiting coordinator for his final two seasons. He helped lead North Dakota State to three consecutive FCS National Championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013. In 2013, the Bison offense ranked No. 10 in the nation in scoring offense (38.7 points per game) and No. 14 in total offense (457.5 yards per game).

From 2011 through 2013, Burns helped the Bison to a 43-2 (.956) overall record and a 22-2 (.917) Missouri Valley Football Conference mark on way to its three consecutive national titles. The 2013 squad became the first undefeated (15-0) FCS National Champion since Marshall went 15-0 in 1996.

In 2013, Burns coached junior wide receiver Zach Vraa, who made 67 catches for 1,191 and 15 touchdowns. Vraa earned First Team All-Missouri Valley Conference honors as a junior. Burns coached former Bison receiver Warren Holloway in 2011, who had 77 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns. Burns also coached Ryan Smith, who earned Second Team All-MVFC honors at both wide receiver and return specialist in 2012.

In 2011, 2012 and 2013, the North Dakota State offense featured a pair of 1,000-yard rushers. Burns receiving corps played a key role in blocking for the successful running game. Two of those years also saw a Bison receiver record a 1,000-yard season. The 2011 season was the first time in school history that the Bison featured a 1,000-yard receiver and two 1,000-yard rushers. Wide receiver Holloway had 1,003 receiving yards, while Sam Ojuri rushed for 1,105 yards, and DJ McNorton ran for 1,020. In 2012, Ojuri (1,047 yards) and John Crockett (1,038) each rushed for 1,000 yards.

Prior to joining the NDSU coaching staff in 2010, Burns spent two seasons as the tight ends coach at Southern Illinois where he part of two league titles and two FCS playoff appearances. Southern Illinois played in the First Round of the 2008 FCS Playoffs and advanced to the Quarterfinals of the 2009 Playoffs. The Salukis had a combined overall record of 20-5 in 2008 and 2009 and a combined conference record of 15-1. Southern Illinois tied for the conference title in 2008, with a 7-1 conference mark, and won the league outright in 2009, with a perfect 8-0 record.

The tight ends played a key role in the Southern Illinois offense. The Southern Illinois offense ranked No. 5 in the nation in rushing offense in 2009, averaging 221.1 yards per game.

Burns began his coaching career at Millersville (Pa.) University in 2007, where he coached the running backs.

He played running back at Indiana from 2003-06 and was a three-year letterwinner for the Hoosiers. At Indiana, he served as a liaison between student government and the athletic department.

Burns completed his bachelor's degree in general studies at Indiana in December 2006. He has one daughter (Raziah). 


Coaching Experience
2017-present: Minnesota - Running Backs
2016: Western Michigan - Running Backs
2014: Wyoming - Receivers
2010-13: North Dakota State - Receivers
2008-09: Southern Illinois - Tight Ends
2007: Millersville (Pa.) - Running Backs

Playing Experience: Indiana (running back), 2003-06 

Birthday: November 24, 1983

Hometown: Springfield, IL

High School: Sacred Heart Griffin, 2003

Alma Mater: Indiana University, 2006 (general studies) 

Daughter: Raziah




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Player Profile: Antonio Shenault

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Antonio Shenault will help lead a young defensive back group in 2018. The senior has played in 33 games and has made 111 tackles.

Player Profile: Tyler Johnson

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Tyler Johnson had one of the best seasons in school history for a sophomore receiver in 2017.

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