This spring, offensive tackle Greg Senat ’17 became the first Seahawk football player in 53 years to be selected in the NFL draft. Senat was drafted in the sixth round by the Baltimore Ravens. He follows Rich Kotite ’66, drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 1965; and Allan Ferrie ’61, also drafted by the Vikings, in 1961.
Senat took an unusual path toward this exceptional achievement.
“I always wanted to be a basketball player,” he said in a May 6 interview, while he was on his way back to New York from rookie camp in Baltimore. “That was my main sport growing up. It’s a happy surprise that I ended up being a football player.”
Senat grew up in Queens and Elmont, New York. In high school, he played lacrosse, football, and basketball before settling on hoops, with dreams of the NBA. For his last two years of high school, he attended Marianapolis Preparatory School in Connecticut. Recruiting by basketball coach Bashir Mason, plus the chance to go to college close to home, drew him to Wagner.
In basketball, he was a forward for the great 2016 team that captured the 2016 NEC regular season championship and the program’s first-ever postseason tournament victory, in the NIT.
But meanwhile, he said, football looked like fun to him. Coach Jason Houghtaling was interested in him, too. After Senat finished the 2016 basketball season, he played spring football. In 2016–17, he served as the starting right tackle for football and appeared in 22 games for the basketball team.
Eligible for another year of NCAA play, he continued with the football team’s offensive line for the 2017 season as a fifth-year senior. His athletic talent drew national attention, leading him to become the first NEC player ever selected to play in the prestigious East-West Shrine All-Star Football Game and the second NEC player invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, a weeklong showcase of promising football players.
Beyond athletics, he carved a unique path at Wagner. He was a nursing major until his athletic commitments became irreconcilable with that rigorous class and clinical schedule. He completed his bachelor’s in medical anthropology. Working in Wagner’s Center for Leadership and Community Engagement, he promoted athletes’ involvement on campus and career preparation. He brought all kinds of student groups together to have an impact in the community, and he mentored local high school students in the Port Richmond Partnership Leadership Academy.
“Wagner taught me how to get along with people of all different races, sexual orientations, creeds; there being one big family,” he says. “Wagner taught me how to solve problems. Being a student and playing a sport, two sports at one time, I learned how to manage my time, figure out what’s important and what’s not important. Wagner taught me how to be engaged in community affairs. It taught me how to speak in front of people. Wagner has taught me a lot of life skills, that’s for sure.”
Senat says he enjoyed “creating a new family” with his football teammates at Wagner. Now, he’s doing the same in the professional arena.
“It’s a lot of fun from what I’ve experienced so far. The team camaraderie is great. The team spirit is great. … It’s a great experience so far.
“It’s like college, just a little more complicated.”