A pair of true freshmen became “official” members of the Ohio State football program on Thursday when quarterback Lincoln Keinholz and defensive linemen Jason Moore shed their black stripes after practice.
Keinholz, a former four-star prospect and 11th-best quarterback in the 2023 class who flipped from Washington to Ohio State on Dec. 14, joined the team in June of 2023 after an illustrious multi-sport high school career at Pierre (S.D.) T.F. Riggs. He was named the 2022-23 USA Today Overall Boys Athlete of the Year after leading the football program to its third consecutive state championship by tossing for 3.422 passing yards and 46 touchdowns, while also excelling for the basketball and baseball teams.
Now solely focused on football, the 6-foot-2 freshman has impressed those within the program with his poise and maturity while navigating the quarterback position during practice, something that head coach Ryan Day said was rare amongst younger signal callers.
“Lincoln has stepped in, and (I’ve) been very surprised with just his approach,” Day said on Aug. 1. “(I’ve) been really impressed with how it doesn’t seem too big for Lincoln. He’s very athletic. He’s learning. He’s got a long way to go. He came in in the summer, but (I’m) excited to have him here.”
Keinholz has yet to see the field for the Buckeyes and is currently serving as the fourth-string quarterback on the roster, but Day indicated before the team’s Week 2 game against Youngstown State that he would like for the first-year quarterback to get some game action at some point this season. Keinholz can play up to four games this season and still have an opportunity to redshirt.
“We would love at some point to get Lincoln in a game to get his feet wet,” Day said on Sept. 7. “We’re allowed to have four games and still redshirt Lincoln. So we’ll see how things go. Every rep is so valuable right now, so we’ll see…It’s going to take a little bit of time for him but he’s learning quickly. And we’d love to see him get in the game at some point for sure.”
Moore, the nation’s eighth-best defensive linemen and 67th-best overall prospect out of Hyattsville (MD) DeMatha Catholic, also arrived on campus in June as a four-star prospect. The 6-foot-6 first-year is known for his freakish athleticism and length, coming into the program as the Buckeyes’ tallest defensive line commit since Archbishop Moeller’s Sam Hubbard (6-6, 225) in 2014.
“I like Jason,” defensive line coach Larry Johnson said in May. “I think Jason has a chance. He’s a real quiet star and doesn’t talk very much but works hard, very hard.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Moore has registered three defensive snaps so far this season, with all of them coming late in Ohio State’s 63-10 blowout victory over Western Kentucky on Sept. 16.
Moore and Keinholz become the 13th and 14th true freshmen to shed their black stripes, joining fellow-defensive linemen Kayden McDonald (Aug. 19) and Arvell Reese (Aug. 22), wide receivers Carnell Tate (March 25), Bryson Rodgers (Aug. 15) Noah Rogers (Aug. 19) and Brandon Inniss (Aug. 21), offensive linemen Luke Montgomery (Aug. 12) Joshua Padilla (Aug. 21) and Austin Siereveld (Aug. 23), defensive backs Malik Hartford (April 7) Jermaine Matthews Jr. (Aug. 15) and tight end Jelani Thurman (April 7).