By Nick Barnowski –
Despite being a year away from hitting the ice for the Michigan State Spartans, defenseman Josh Jacobs has already had some help from a former player who donned the Green and White along his journey.
“I look up to Torey Krug a lot,” the 17-year-old said. “I’ve gotten a couple chances to talk to Torey, he just has a lot of great things to say and good advice for me.”
That, along with Jacobs saying he likes to model his game after the current Boston Bruins defenseman and former Spartan captain, should be enough to excite fans in East Lansing.
Jacobs, a MSU commit, participated in the second annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Joining him were 39 of the other top ranked American prospects, all given the opportunity to impress scouts, coaches, and fans on NHL ice.
“It’s been a great honor to represent the USA in the All-American prospects game,” Jacobs said. “It was a good experience for me, I just got to learn from it and keep going from here.”
The current Indiana Ice (USHL) blueliner played on Team Mullen, coached by NHL Hall of Famer Joe Mullen, while the other side, Team Johnson, was coached by 1980 U.S. Olympian Mark Johnson. Team Johnson won 5-2.
Eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, Jacobs admitted that having scouts there to see him play on the big stage was difficult but that he was able to get it out of his head come game time. The 6-2, 192 pounder was recently given a ‘B’ in NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary draft rankings.
“I battled hard with the puck, fought it a little bit but I definitely played okay,” Jacobs said. “I just got to work on my defense a little bit more and shoot the puck more as well.”
The Shelby Township native had two goals and 13 assists in 48 games in his first season with the Ice last year, and is looking to help the team recover from its last place showing in the USHL.
“I’m looking forward to being one of the top guys on my team and leading them to the payoffs,” Jacobs said. “Obviously we were in last place last year so just to do better, push them, and try to win the Clark Cup.”
Playing youth hockey in Michigan was crucial to Jacobs’ success on the ice. He credits Honeybaked coaches Mike Humitz and Ryan Pardoski for some of his accomplishments.
“Ryan’s been a great coach, I used to play with him back in AAA as a very young defenseman so he was a great help with me and I give him a lot of thanks,” Jacobs said.
The next step after the USHL is the college ranks, and Jacobs is eager to help MSU head coach Tom Anastos turn the club into a winning team in the new Big Ten conference.
“The campus is unbelievable and I felt very comfortable with Tom and Kelly Miller and Tom Newton there,” Jacobs said. “They’re just great guys and they looked at me to help rebuild their team and they put a lot of respect toward me so I definitely accepted it.”