Big Ten afternoon news nuggets

A few items for you on a dreary Friday in Chicago.

  • Minnesota has announced the signings of two junior college players, tight end Tiree Eure and defensive back Christyn Lewis. Eure previously played for Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa., while Lewis was an all-conference selection for Citrus College in Glendora, Calif. Gophers head coach Tim Brewster has signed a decent number of juco players during his three-year tenure, and both Eure and Lewis will be in the mix immediately. "I expect that each will step in right away and compete strongly for playing time," Brewster said in a statement.

  • New Illinois defensive coordinator Vic Koenning received a two-year contract worth $325,000 a year, which is quite a bit below what new Illini offensive coordinator Paul Petrino will make ($475,000). Athletic director Ron Guenther also broke his silence today about the football program and explained his decision-making.

  • Indiana's All-Big Ten defensive end Jammie Kirlew has been named a semifinalist for the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, given to a college and professional athlete who made the greatest positive influence in the lives of others. Kirlew, a two-time team MVP and a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, is active in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program and has volunteered at the Bloomington Boys & Girls Club. The award will be presented Jan. 19.