2023 Four-Star Quarterback Lincoln Kienholz Commits to Ohio State, Leaves Washington

Ohio State has its quarterback for the Class of 2023.

Shortly after receiving his offer from the Buckeyes following his official visit to Columbus for the Michigan game on Nov. 26, four-star South Dakota quarterback Lincoln Kienholz officially pulled the trigger and signed on. Wednesday in the state of Ohio, leaving Washington.

The Kienholz file

  • To classify: 2023
  • Cut: 6-3/185
  • Pos: QC
  • School: Pierre T. F. Riggs High School (Pierre, SD)
  • Composite rating: ★★★★
  • Composite ranking: #211 (#14 QB)

With his commitment to Ohio State, Kienholz becomes the 20th player to serve the Buckeyes in the current cycle and the quarterback’s only commitment.

Ohio State quarterback coach Corey Dennis has had his eye on Kienholz for months, impressed with his dual-threat ability and progression as a signalman. Dennis traveled to South Dakota in October to scout Kienholz during OSU’s rest week, although Tennessee four-star quarterback Brock Glenn has already committed to the Buckeyes’ recruiting class 2023. On this trip, Dennis saw everything he needed to change his priority to the signal caller he preferred for 2023.

When Glenn opted out of the Buckeyes in November, it opened the door for Kienholz to join the class, and he made his first visit to OSU six days later. Returning from Washington wasn’t easy for the 6-foot-3, 185-pound prospect, as Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer hails from Kienholz’s home state of South Dakota.

But the concept of being developed by Ryan Day and Dennis was too intriguing to ignore. Kienholz fell in love with Ohio State after making an official visit to Columbus on Nov. 26 for the Michigan game, but the Buckeyes still had some work to do to win him over.

Once the recruiting dead period lifted in December, Dennis traveled to Kienholz, South Dakota to put a full press on Washington’s former commitment, with coaches from the Huskies staff also making home visits. Day made his own trip to South Dakota with Dennis a week later, showing that the Buckeyes’ interest in him was indeed serious.

Kienholz becomes just the second South Dakota player to sign with the Buckeyes besides offensive lineman Grant Schmidt (2015), who never played for Ohio State and later traded to Cincinnati.

The South Dakota signalman is considered the 211th-highest prospect nationally and the 14th-ranked quarterback in 2023 according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. He won 13 Division I offers, including Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Kansas State, Illinois and Wyoming.

Kienholz brings dual-threat style and stability to OSU’s QB room

During his senior season, Kienholz helped lead Pierre High School (Pierre, SD) to a state championship, completing 66.5 percent of his passes for 3,422 yards and 46 touchdowns for six interceptions. As a rusher, Kienholz rushed for 1,435 yards with 24 rushing touchdowns.

At Pierre, Kienholz has mostly run a spread out offense, so he should acclimate quickly to Day’s offensive plan in Columbus. Although his competition at the preparatory level did not feature many athletes who will play Division I football, Kienholz repeatedly connected on ideally placed deep passes, displaying deep ball accuracy essential for a quarterback- successful fullback at OSU.

While he’s displayed a strong arm, his windows will be much smaller and close faster at the college level against top talent, which could provide a bit of adjustment early in his career. With his frame, he should have room to grow more physically and strengthen his arm, although he’s not expected to be an early registrant, so he won’t be able to start college training until the summer.

Kienholz can make multiple plays with his feet, whether it’s running for a first down or pulling off a hard throw while running. Whether he’s throwing from outside or inside the pocket, Kienholz generally displayed effective touch and accuracy.

When Kienholz arrives on campus, he could be in store for a promising opportunity, as he will be only the third scholarship quarterback on Ohio State’s roster. Devin Brown and Kyle McCord are expected to battle for the starting spot in the spring, and given the current college football climate, it’s not inconceivable that the loser will be competitive transfers. If that happened, Kienholz would likely be the default quarterback in his freshman year, which means he would definitely see some playing time in his freshman season in blowout wins.

The quarterback’s draft is slated for the next two cycles for Ohio State, with Kienholz locking down for 2023 and five-star quarterback Dylan Raiola being the Buckeyes’ commitment for the 2024 cycle. of uncommitted readiness signal holds an offer from OSU in the 2025 class, Ohio product Ryan Montgomery. Five-star prospect Colin Hurley, the other OSU quarterback offered in 2025, has committed to LSU.

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