Lincoln Kienholz, four-star quarterback of 2023, commits Ohio State flips from 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 Nov. 26 Michigan game, four-star South Dakota quarterback Lincoln Kienholz officially pulled the trigger and signed from Washington on Wednesday from the state of Ohio.

File Kienholz

  • Class: 2023
  • Size: 6-3/185
  • Position: QB
  • School: Pierre TF Riggs High School (Pierre, South Dakota)
  • Composite rating: ★★★★
  • Composite rank: #211 (#14QB)

With his signing for Ohio State, Kienholz becomes the 20th player to make his verbal and lone quarterback pledge to the Buckeyes in the current cycle.

Ohio State quarterback coach Corey Dennis has had his eye on Kienholz for months, impressed with his double threat ability and progress as a signal caller. Dennis traveled to South Dakota in October to scout Kienholz during OSU’s off week, though four-star Tennessee quarterback Brock Glenn was already signed for the Buckeyes’ 2023 recruiting class. On this journey, Dennis saw everything he needed to shift his priority to the signal caller he favored for 2023.

Glenn’s retirement from the Buckeyes in November opened the door for Kienholz to join the class, and he attended OSU for the first time six days later. The move from Washington wasn’t easy for the 6-foot-3, 185-pound contender since Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer is 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 paying an official visit to Columbus for the Michigan game on Nov. 26, but the Buckeyes still had a long way to go to win him over.

After the recruiting dead-time lifted in December, Dennis visited Kienholz in South Dakota to bring the former Washington Commitment to justice, with Huskies staff trainers also making home visits. Day made a trip of his own to South Dakota with Dennis a week later, showing the heavily armed signal caller that the Buckeyes’ interest in him was indeed serious.

Kienholz is just the second player from South Dakota to join the Buckeyes, alongside offensive lineman Grant Schmidt (2015), who never played for Ohio State and later moved to Cincinnati.

The South Dakota signal caller is ranked the 211th best prospect nationally by 247Sports rankings and is ranked 14th as a quarterback in 2023. He has accepted 13 Division I offers including Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Kansas State, Illinois and Wyoming.

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

In his senior season, Kienholz helped lead Pierre High School (Pierre, South Dakota) to a state championship by completing 66.5 percent of his passes for 3,422 yards and 46 touchdowns for six interceptions. As a runner, Kienholz ran for 1,435 yards with 24 rushing touchdowns.

At Pierre, Kienholz primarily ran a distributed offensive, so he should quickly adapt to Day’s offensive plan in Columbus. While his prep-level competition didn’t include many athletes who will play Division I football, Kienholz repeatedly connected deep passes that were ideally placed and displayed deep ball accuracy essential for a quarterback to succeed at OSU .

Despite showing a strong arm, his college-level windows will be much smaller and close faster against high-level talent, which could mean some adjustment early in his career. With his build, he should have room to progress physically and strengthen his arm, although he’s not expected to be an early enroller so he won’t be able to start college training until the summer.

Kienholz can make multiple plays with his feet, whether it’s a first down or completing a hard throw on the run. Whether throwing from the outside or from the pocket, Kienholz usually displayed effective touch and accuracy.

When Kienholz arrives on campus, he could be facing a promising opportunity since 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 climate in college football, it’s not inconceivable that the loser of the competition could be traded. Should that happen, Kienholz would likely be the backup quarterback by default in his freshman year, meaning he would certainly see game time in blowout wins in his freshman season.

Quarterback recruitment is slated for the next few cycles for Ohio State, with Kienholz starting for 2023 and five-star quarterback Dylan Raiola being the Buckeyes’ commitment for the 2024 cycle. Just a non-binding prep signal caller has an offer from OSU in Class 2025, Ohio product Ryan Montgomery. Five-star prospect Colin Hurley, OSU’s other quarterback offered in 2025, is committed to LSU.

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