Four-star 2023 quarterback Lincoln Kienholz commits to Ohio State, flipping from Washington

Ohio State has a 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, Dakota four-star quarterback Lincoln Kienholz officially pulled the trigger and committed to Ohio State on Wednesday, flipping off Washington.

Kienholz file

  • Season: 2023
  • Size: 6-3/185
  • POS: QB
  • The school: Pierre T.F. Riggs High School (Pierre, South Dakota)
  • Composite classification: ★★★★
  • Composite Rank: #211 (#14 QB)

With his commitment to Ohio State, Kienholz became the 20th tackler to the Buckeyes in the current cycle and his only quarterback pledge.

Ohio State quarterback coach Corey Dennis has had his eye on Kienholz for months, impressed by his ability to double-threat and progress as a signal caller. Dennis made a trip to South Dakota in October to scout Kienholz during OSU’s off week, though four-star Tennessee quarterback Brock Glenn had already committed to the Buckeyes’ 2023 recruiting class. On that trip, Dennis saw everything he needed to turn his priority around. To his favorite caller sign for the year 2023.

When Glenn got out of the Buckeyes in November, he opened the door for Kienholz to join the class, and he made his first visit to OSU six days later. Flipping Washington was no easy feat for the 6-foot-3, 185-pound player. Huskies coach Kalin DeBoer hails from Keinholz’s home state of South Dakota.

But the concept development of Ryan Day and Dennis was too intriguing to ignore. Kienholz became smitten with Ohio State after paying a state visit to Columbus on November 26 for the Michigan game, but the Buckeyes still have something to do to win him.

Once the December draft ended, Dennis Kienholz visited South Dakota to put the full press on Washington’s previous commitment, with coaches from the Huskies’ staff also making home visits. Day took a trip of his own to South Dakota with Dennis a week later, showing the hard-armed caller that the Buckeyes’ interest in him was indeed serious.

Kienholz became the second player ever from South Dakota to commit to the Buckeyes along with offensive lineman Grant Schmidt (2015), who never played at Ohio State and later transferred to Cincinnati.

The South Dakota signal caller is the 211th-best nationally and the 14th-best quarterback in the 2023 Per 247 Sports Composite rankings. He caught 13 Division I bids, including Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Kansas State, Illinois, and Wyoming.

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

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

At Pierre, Kienholz primarily committed a spread offense, so he must adapt quickly to Day’s offensive scheme in Columbus. While his competition at the prep level did not feature many athletes who would play Division I football, Kienholz repeatedly connected on perfectly placed deep passes, and demonstrated the deep ball accuracy essential to OSU’s quarterback flourishing.

Although he has shown a strong arm, his windows will be much smaller and he will close faster at the collegiate level against top level talent, which could provide a bit of an adjustment early in his career. With his frame, he should have room to develop further physically and strengthen his arm, although he’s not expected to be an early affiliate, so he won’t be able to start team workouts until the summer.

Kienholz can make many plays with his feet, whether it’s a first-time running back or completing a difficult throw on the run. Whether he threw from the outside or inside the pocket, Kienholz usually showed effective touch and accuracy.

When Kienholz hits campus, he could be in store for a promising opportunity, as he’ll be just the third player on Ohio State’s scholarship list. Devin Brown and Kyle McCord are expected to battle for starting action in the spring, and given the current climate of college football, it’s not out of the question that he could be a loser from the transfer competition. If that happens, Kienholz will likely be the backup quarterback his senior year by default, which means he’ll definitely see playing time in his senior season in big wins.

Ohio State’s next two rotational quarterback recruits are set, with Kienholz the 2023 retainer and five-star quarterback Dylan Raiola the Buckeyes’ commitment for the 2024 cycle. Only one uncommitted prep signal caller carries an offer from OSU in the class of 2025, Ohio product Ryan Montgomery. Five-star prospect Colin Hurley, the other OSU quarterback drafted in 2025, is committed to LSU.

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