Washington (like all but a handful of programs in the country) have been unable to go head-to-head with Ohio State in recruiting over the last several years. The Buckeyes came into Western Washington and plucked out elite recruits Emeka Egbuka and J.T. Tuimoloau. Now it appears they have dealt another major blow to the Huskies with the announcement that former UW QB commit Lincoln Kienholz has decommitted from Washington. 7 minutes later he tweeted out his commitment to Ohio State. Numerous crystal balls from all of 247’s recruiting experts had Kienholz flipping to the Buckeyes beginning last night.
I want to say thank you to the University of Washington for honoring my decommitment. With that being said, I am moving forward with my recruitment. God Bless pic.twitter.com/KDg940Lc10— Lincoln Kienholz (@LincolnKienholz) December 14, 2022
After DeBoer was hired it seemed like maybe the Huskies would pursue QB Joshua Wood from local Graham-Kapowsin as his first high school recruit at the position. Instead the Huskies passed on the remaining 2022 options and brought in Michael Penix Jr. from the transfer portal. The latter move obviously worked out but it added extra importance to who would come in for the class of 2023.
The Huskies targeted Kienholz early as an underrated option from DeBoer’s home state of South Dakota. They ended up as part of a final four in June along with Wisconsin, Wyoming, and North Dakota State. Washington won that W-heavy battle and it appeared the Huskies were set at the QB spot for the 2023 class. After Michael Penix Jr. put up eye popping stats all season it added to the thought that the Huskies were well positioned and both DeBoer and OC Ryan Grubb visited Kienholz during UW’s bye week just to be sure.
Ohio State however didn’t wind up with an elite QB like they do in seemingly every class. 4-star QB Brock Glenn was one of just 2 Ohio State commits ranked outside the top-350 in the 247 Sports Composite. So was Kienholz before a giant rise in the rankings in just the last month but OSU viewed him as an upgrade on Glenn and moved in late. Glenn eventually flipped to Florida State. Kienholz announced before his official visit to OSU that he was “Right now...100% committed to Washington” but still going to take an official visit to Ohio State when they took on Michigan.
The next week went as well as UW could've hoped to convince Kienholz to stay. Ohio State was thrashed by Michigan in the game he went to see. Then the Huskies put up almost 500 passing yards against WSU to secure a 10-win season. And Ohio State still had the #1 overall player committed at his position in next year's class. However, Kienholz apparently took an extra several weeks to finally make his decision and leaves Washington in a tricky position now exactly one week until the start of the early signing period.
The good news is that Michael Penix Jr. spurned the NFL and will return as one of the Heisman front runners entering 2023. Dylan Morris served as the backup throughout the season and has more experience than former 5-star Sam Huard who hasn’t yet shown off the skills that made him one of the elite recruits in the state’s history. If the staff wants to keep with 4 QBs on the roster at a time then they will have to either flip someone immediately or else pick someone up in the transfer portal.
Washington last night extended an offer to 4-star West Linn HS quarterback Sam Leavitt who is currently committed to Washington State. Similar to Kienholz though, Leavitt has been looking around as he took an official visit to Michigan State last week. Unlike Kienholz though, the situation at Washington State is not stable as their offensive coordinator Eric Morris left to take the head coaching job at North Texas yesterday. We’ll see whether DeBoer and Grubb can further enforce the college football chain of recruiting command by keeping the flips going.
It has been an unfortunately bumpy ride on the recruiting carousel for Washington right now given they’re coming off a 10-2 season with a class that was supposed to be essentially done back in June.