2010-11: Joshua Jacobs made his debut with Belle Tire’s U14 national championship team in Michigan. In 31 games he scored 9 goals with 19 assists and had 24 penalty minutes. He participated in USA Hockey’s Select 15 Player Development Camp in July 2011.
2011-12: Jacobs played for the Honeybaked U16 team in Michigan and was an assistant captain for the USA team at the 2011 Winter Youth Olympic Games. In 24 midget games he scored 3 goals with 14 assists and had 20 penalty minutes. In six games at the YOG he had 3 assists and was minus-6 with 8 penalty minutes in six games. The USA finished fourth after a 7-5 loss to Canada in the bronze medal game. Jacobs was selected by Sarnia in the fourth round (72nd overall) of the 2012 OHL Priority Draft.
2012-13: Jacobs joined Indiana of the USHL; skating in 48 games for the Ice in his first season. He scored 2 goals with 13 assists and was minus-5 with 52 penalty minutes. Indiana missed the playoffs after finishing last in the Eastern Division. Jacobs participated in USA Hockey’s Select 17 Camp — scoring 1 goal with 2 penalty minutes in six games.
2013-14: Jacobs returned to Indiana for his second USHL season and skated for the USA in the 2013 U19 World Junior A Challenge. The second-leading scorer amongst Ice defensemen, he scored 5 goals with 18 assists in 56 games and was plus-36 with 46 penalty minutes. The Ice finished first in the Eastern Conference and rolled through the USHL playoffs; defeating Waterloo in the Clark Cup finals. Jacobs scored 3 goals with 2 assists and was plus-3 with 2 penalty minutes in 12 playoff games. He had no points nor penalty minutes in four games as the USA captured a gold medal at the WJAC. He participated in the 2013 USA Hockey CCM All-American Prospects game in September and in October 2013 committed to playing hockey at Michigan State in 2014-15. Jacobs was ranked 43rd amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by New Jersey in the second round (41st overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Jacobs is a smooth skating two-way defenseman. He excels in transition, generating chances by moving the puck up the ice or hitting a streaking forward with a stretch pass. Two other assets he has are hockey sense and his shot. Jacobs’ defensive play greatly improved in his lone season at Michigan State. He was required to play more responsibly and focus on the details of defensive hockey.
Despite having a good freshman year with Michigan State, Jacobs was unhappy and did not see eye-to-eye with his head coach. He has joined the Sarnia Sting of the OHL, who play a fast-paced system similar to what the Devils plan to implement. This will allow Jacobs to realize his full offensive potential. When you add in the similar pro-style schedule that the junior level follows, Jacobs should have an easier time adjusting to the next level when he is ready.