It was a little over 24 hours ago that Habibi-Likio committed to WSU. The person he called to deliver the good news to was Mastro, the WSU assistant who has been recruiting him throughout his recruitment process.
“He was just thrilled about it,” Habibi-Likio said. “I do feel very wanted at Washington State and just the little things like him being so fired up about me committing has me excited.
“I talk with Coach Mastro all the time. We always have great conversations. It already feels like I’m a part of the WSU family.”
Mastro, who also played a monumental role in landing wideout Isaiah Hodgins on Monday, connected with Habibi-Likio in a way that no other coach recruiting him did, he said.
“He was one of the biggest reasons I chose Washington State,” Habibi-Likio said. “He’s the running backs coach and it worked out because he recruits my area. Just the fact that where he grew up (Milpitas) is 15 minutes from my house was big.
“Coach Mastro knows what it’s like to grow up in the Bay Area. Although he’s in Pullman now, he has a feel for home. I do want to get away for college, but I also do want to be around the same type of people I grew up with. Northern California is full of amazing people. He was definitely a huge factor for me.”
In addition to Mastro, Habibi-Likio said the thought of playing alongside a pair of future Cougs - including Hodgins - also made his decision a bit easier.
“I’m good friends with Isaiah Hodgins,” he said. “We took our first unofficial together and our moms clicked and our families really like each other. Isaiah and I close, but our whole family is now.
“Also Connor Neville. I met him at a tournament and we became close. The three of us (Neville, Hodgins and Habibi-Likio) are in a group chat and we can talk about anything. We also talk about how excited we are to play together at WSU.”