Four-star 2023 Quarterback Lincoln Kienholz Commits to Ohio State, Flips from Washington

Ohio State has its quarterback for the 2023 class.

Shortly after receiving his offer from the Buckeyes after his official visit to Columbus for the Michigan game on Nov. 26, four-star South Dakota quarterback Lincoln Kienholz officially pulled the trigger and committed to Ohio State on Wednesday, flipping from Washington.

The Kienholz File

  • Class: 2023
  • Size: 6-3/185
  • Pos: QB
  • School: Pierre T. F. Riggs High School (Pierre, South Dakota)
  • Composite Rating: ★★★★
  • Composite Rank: #211 (#14 QBs)

With his commitment to Ohio State, Kienholz becomes the 20th player to give their verbal to the Buckeyes in the current cycle and the lone quarterback pledge.

Ohio State quarterback coach Corey Dennis has had his eye on Kienholz for months, impressed by his dual-threat ability and progression as a signal caller. Dennis made a trip to South Dakota in October to scout Kienholz during OSU’s off week, despite having four-star Tennessee quarterback Brock Glenn already committed to the Buckeyes 2023 recruiting class. On that trip, Dennis saw everything he needed to shift his priority on what signal caller he preferred for 2023.

When Glenn decommitted from the Buckeyes in November, he opened the door for Kienholz to join the class, and he took his first visit to OSU six days later. Flipping 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 became enamored with Ohio State after taking an official visit to Columbus on Nov. 26 for the Michigan game, but the Buckeyes still had work to do to win him over.

Once the recruiting dead period lifted in December, Dennis visited Kienholz in South Dakota to put a full-court press on the former Washington commit, with coaches from the Huskies’ staff also making in-home visits. Day made a trip of his own to South Dakota with Dennis a week later, showing the strong-armed signal-caller the Buckeyes’ interest in him was indeed serious.

Kienholz becomes only the second player ever from South Dakota to commit to the Buckeyes besides offensive lineman Grant Schmidt (2015), who never played a snap for Ohio State and later transferred to Cincinnati.

The South Dakota signal-caller is considered the 211th-best prospect nationally and the 14th-ranked quarterback in 2023 by 247Sports’ composite rankings. He picked up 13 Division I offers, including Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Kansas State, Illinois and Wyoming.

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

In his senior season, Kienholz helped lead Pierre High School (Pierre, South Dakota) to a 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 ran a spread offense primarily, so he should acclimate swiftly to Day’s offensive scheme in Columbus. While his competition at the prep level didn’t feature many athletes that will be playing Division I football, Kienholz repeatedly connected on deep passes that were ideally placed, displaying deep ball accuracy essential for a quarterback to thrive at OSU.

Though he displayed a strong arm, his windows will be much smaller and close faster at the collegiate level against high-level talent, which could provide a bit of an adjustment early in his career. With his frame, he should have room to develop more physically and strengthen his arm, though he is not expected to be an early enrollee, so he won’t be able to begin collegiate workouts until summer.

Kienholz can make multiple plays with his feet, whether that’s running for a first down or completing a tough throw on the run. Whether he threw from outside or inside of the pocket, Kienholz usually displayed effective touch and accuracy.

When Kienholz arrives on campus, he could be in store for a promising opportunity, as he’ll be only the third scholarship quarterback on Ohio State’s roster. Devin Brown and Kyle McCord are expected to battle for the starting job in the spring and, considering the current climate of college football, it’s not inconceivable the loser of the competition transfers. Should that happen, Kienholz would likely be the backup quarterback his first year by default, meaning he’d certainly see playing time in his first season in blowout victories.

Quarterback recruiting is set for the next couple of cycles for Ohio State, with Kienholz locking in for 2023 and five-star quarterback Dylan Raiola being the Buckeyes’ commit for the 2024 cycle. Only one uncommitted prep signal caller holds an offer from OSU in the 2025 class, Ohio product Ryan Montgomery. Five-star prospect Colin Hurley, the other quarterback OSU offered in 2025, is committed to LSU.

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