The future of Ohio State’s passing offense was on full display in Saturday’s All-American Bowl.
Seven members of Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting class took the field for one final high school football game Saturday before they begin their Buckeye careers, and future OSU wide receivers Brandon Inniss and Carnell Tate and quarterback Lincoln Kienholz were among the game’s stars.
It didn’t take long for Inniss to make his mark on the contest. On the game's very first possession, Inniss got open from the slot to make a 20-yard catch over the middle of the field, helping lead the East to an opening-drive touchdown. After the East got the ball back at the 9-yard line for its second possession following a West turnover, Inniss beat Notre Dame cornerback signee Micah Bell in one-on-one coverage for a 9-yard touchdown catch.
Dante Moore to Brandon Inniss for the 9-yard touchdown. pic.twitter.com/82QP1ySmZR— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) January 7, 2023
Inniss made another big play in the second quarter when he exploded up the middle of the field on a tunnel screen for another 20-yard gain. Inniss left the field after the play with an apparent injury but was able to return later in the game.
Screen pass to Brandon Inniss right before the touchdown by Carnell Tate. Inniss left the game after this play. pic.twitter.com/Lu8g1fvQ03— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) January 7, 2023
One play later, Tate got on the scoreboard by catching a deep ball from Dante Moore for a 29-yard touchdown. Like Inniss earlier in the game, Tate beat one-on-one man coverage to the end zone for the scoring grab.
It's Carnell Tate's turn for a touchdown from Dante Moore. Stick around for the O-H handshake. pic.twitter.com/fzBteU6QeF— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) January 7, 2023
Ohio State wide receivers coach Brian Hartline was among those impressed by what he saw on Saturday from the two pass-catchers who will soon be joining his unit.
Thats and— Brian Hartline (@brianhartline) January 7, 2023
Their touchdowns helped lead the East squad to a decisive 55-17 win in Saturday’s all-star exhibition in San Antonio.
Incoming Ohio State offensive lineman Luke Montgomery and safety Malik Hartford also played roles in the East’s win. Montgomery, who is expected to start his Ohio State career at offensive tackle, played primarily at right guard for the East offense. Hartford showed his playmaking ability with a clean diving tackle to blow up a 3rd-and-7 screen pass by Kienholz in the first half, though that stop did not count due to a roughing the passer penalty against Alabama defensive end signee (and former Ohio State target) Keon Keeley.
Kienholz was pressured just about every time he attempted to throw downfield as the West offensive line struggled to block the East’s pass-rush. But that didn’t stop Kienholz from putting his playmaking ability on full display.
The future Ohio State quarterback delivered one of the day’s best highlights when he scrambled away from pressure before delivering a 43-yard deep heave to LSU tight end signee Ka’Morreun Pimpton for the West’s first touchdown of the day.
That wasn’t the only time Kienholz put his athleticism and running ability on display. He scrambled for a 5-yard gain late in the first half and nearly threw a touchdown pass in the red zone on his first series in the game after escaping pressure in the pocket from Florida defensive end signee Kamran James.
Just out of reach here. Nice escape by Lincoln Kienholz. pic.twitter.com/40UMOY5YVb— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) January 7, 2023
Kienholz threw another touchdown pass with just 50 seconds remaining in the game when he connected with TCU wide receiver signee Cordale Russell for a 38-yard touchdown.
Another deep touchdown pass for future Buckeye quarterback Lincoln Kienholz. pic.twitter.com/F1KNPZuB6A— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) January 7, 2023
Future Ohio State cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt and edge rusher Joshua Mickens also suited up for the West squad on Saturday. On a rough day overall for the West defense, Simpson-Hunt was a bright spot as he was seen consistently locking down his opponents in coverage when he was on the field, forcing the East to throw away from him.
Ohio State CB signee Calvin Simpson-Hunt attached to WR Jaedn Skeet. pic.twitter.com/UbE7eLTAxt— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) January 7, 2023
After the game was over, all seven Ohio State signees posed together for a photo on the field.
While there was plenty to like about the performances of the future Buckeyes who played in the game, Ohio State got some bad news during the second quarter – though not unexpected news – as four-star 2024 safety Peyton Woodyard, one of the Buckeyes’ top defensive targets in that class, announced his commitment to Georgia.
Ohio State was not in the mix for any of the other players who announced commitments during Saturday’s game as Mickens, who had originally planned to announce his decision during the All-American Bowl, instead announced he would sign with the Buckeyes during the early signing period.