Former quarterback under Gus Malzahn joins Auburn as graduate assistant

By: Miranda Mason, Brandon Marcello Email
By: Miranda Mason, Brandon Marcello Email

DESTIN, Florida -- Gus Malzahn is dipping back into his quarterback pool for another graduate assistant.

Former Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin will leave Ole Miss to take a graduate assistant position at Auburn, Malzahn said Wednesday. Former Auburn quarterback Kodi Burns left the program as a graduate assistant to become the running backs coach at Samford earlier this month.

Aplin served as an administrative intern under Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss for nine months. He played for Freeze for two seasons and Malzahn for one season at Arkansas State. The move is not totally unexpected, especially considering Malzahn's relationship with his former quarterback at Arkansas State.

"Ryan is going to be a big-time college coach," Malzahn said before facing Ole Miss in October. "Any time you've got successful quarterbacks that have been in your system, that's always a plus."

Freeze hinted Tuesday Aplin was leaving his staff to join the Tigers, who already gobbled up offensive tackle Austin Golson. The former four-star prospect out of Prattville left the Rebels to walk on at Auburn earlier this month.

"I think I'm getting ready to lose another one to Auburn and I can't stop the young guy because I don't have a spot for him and they do," Freeze said Tuesday, hinting to Aplin's departure. "We all love the guy."

Aplin was a prolific quarterback in the Sun Belt, where he was a two-time player of the year. He threw for 3,588 yards and 19 touchdowns with 16 interceptions while also rushing for 10 touchdowns in 2011 under Freeze. He improved under Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee in 2012 and threw for 3,323 yards and 24 touchdowns with only four picks.

Malzahn has an affinity for helping his former quarterbacks. Lashlee played for Malzahn at Shiloh Christian (Springdale, Ark.) Schools and Burns served as a quarterback and receiver under Malzahn at Auburn. Malzahn told AL.com in 2013 he wanted to help Mitch Mustain jump into the college coaching ranks if the former Springdale (Ark.) High and Southern Cal quarterback was interested in pursuing a coaching career.


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