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 November 26, South Dakota four-star quarterback Lincoln Kienholz officially pulled the trigger and committed to Ohio State from Washington on Wednesday.
The Kienholz file
- Class: 2023
- Mate: 6-3/185
- Position: QB
- School: Pierre T. F. Riggs High School (Pierre, South Dakota)
- Composite rating: ★★★★
- Composite rank: #211 (#14 QB)
With his commitment to Ohio State, Kienholz becomes the 20th player to give his word to the Buckeyes in the current cycle and lone quarterback pledge.
Ohio State quarterback coach Corey Dennis has been eyeing 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 week off, despite Tennessee four-star quarterback Brock Glenn already committing to the 2023 Buckeyes recruiting class. During that trip, Dennis saw everything he needed to make his shift priority to which signal caller he preferred for 2023.
When Glenn parted ways with the Buckeyes in November, it opened the door for Kienholz to join the class, and six days later made his first visit to OSU. Flipping from Washington wasn’t easy for the six-foot-tall, 185-pound prospect, as Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer hails from Kienholz’s home state of South Dakota.
But the concept of development by Ryan Day and Dennis was too intriguing to ignore. Kienholz became enamored of Ohio State after an official visit to Columbus on November 26 for the Michigan game, but the Buckeyes still had work to do to win him over.
Once the recruit death period was lifted in December, Dennis visited Kienholz in South Dakota to put a full press on the former Washington commit, with coaches from the Huskies’ staff also making house calls. Day himself made a trip to South Dakota with Dennis a week later, demonstrating that the heavily armed signal caller the Buckeyes were indeed seriously interested in him.
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 moment for Ohio State and later transferred to Cincinnati.
The South Dakota signal caller is considered the 211th best prospect nationally and the 14th best quarterback in 2023 according to the 247Sports composite ranking. He picked up 13 Division I offers, including Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Kansas State, Illinois and Wyoming.
Kienholz brings dual-threat 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.
With Pierre, Kienholz mainly executed a staggered attack, so he should quickly get used to Day’s offensive plan in Columbus. While there weren’t many athletes playing Division I football during his prep-level competition, Kienholz repeatedly made deep passes that were ideally placed, demonstrating deep ball accuracy essential for a quarterback to thrive at OSU.
While he showed a strong arm, his windows will be much smaller and will close faster at the collegiate level against high-level talent, which could allow for a bit of adjustment early in his career. With his body, he should have room to develop more physically and strengthen his arm, although he is not expected to enroll early, so he won’t be able to start collegiate training until the summer.
Kienholz can make multiple plays with his feet, whether for a first down or a difficult throw while running. Whether throwing from the outside or inside the pocket, Kienholz usually showed effective touch and accuracy.
When Kienholz arrives on campus, he could have a promising opportunity in store as he will be only the third quarterback on the Ohio State roster. Devin Brown and Kyle McCord are expected to compete for the starting job in the spring, and given the current climate of college football, it’s not inconceivable that the league transfer loser will end up. Should that happen, Kienholz would likely be the backup quarterback by default his freshman year, meaning he would definitely see playing time in blowout wins in his freshman season.
Quarterback recruiting is slated for the next few cycles for Ohio State, with Kienholz committing for 2023 and five-star quarterback Dylan Raiola as the Buckeyes’ entry for the 2024 cycle. Only one uncommitted prep signal caller has an offer from OSU in the 2025 class, Ohio product Ryan Montgomery. Five-star prospect Colin Hurley, the other OSU quarterback to be offered in 2025, is committed to LSU.