Without his parents, draft day was bittersweet for Senat

South Florida defensive tackle was selected by the Falcons

Draft day was bittersweet for Deadrin Senat.

The South Florida defensive tackle was selected in the third round, 90th overall, by the Falcons on Friday in the NFL draft. But he had mixed emotions.

“It hurts,” Senat said. “I see everybody else with their mom and their dad and I don’t have my dad to talk to me. I’m real secretive. I don’t put nobody in my business, but family means everything to me. I just don’t let anybody in and call them family.”

Both of Senat’s parents are deceased.

His mother, Judy, who had diabetes, passed away after complications from a spider bite after she walked home two miles from her job at Popeyes.

“She just collapsed,” Senat said.

His father, Guy, passed away from lung cancer in the hospice.

“I was 20 when my dad passed” Senat said. “I went down (to Immokalee, Florida) mid-week and his last words were to move my sister and her kids up to Tampa with me. I told him I didn’t know if I would be able to do it. He said just do it, so I can stay close to my sister. He told me he was giving up. He told me don’t miss a game.”

Senat has been trying to carry on ever since.

"That week we played Syracuse and I had one of the best games of my career because my dad died that day," Senat said. "The best thing was that my dad gave his life to Christ and that meant everything to me. I had my pastor come in and talk to him and he gave his life to Christ. I know he's in a better place. I know my mom is in a better place."
Senat was elated to get the call from the Falcons.
"I'm just so happy for what I have going on right now," Senat said. "I can't take (anything) for granted. It's just a blessing to be a part of the Falcons."

Senat also got a call from former South Florida linebackers coach Stephen Nicholas, who was the last Golden Bull drafted by the Falcons.

“That’s the first person that called me,” Senat said. “I told him that I went on a visit to see (the Falcons). He was just so happy for me. Now, he’s with the Bucs and he was just telling me congratulations.”

Nicholas also gave Senat some sound advice.

"He was telling me to be smart today," Senat said. "I told him that I wasn't going to do much. I was just going to hang out with my family and my close friends."
Nicholas, after being drafted in the fourth round, played for the Falcons from 2007-13.

“He was telling me to go make some noise,” Senat said. “That’s something that he told me when I was in college. That’s what I’m trying to do, go make some noise. I know that I’ve got to work for everything. But I’m ready for it.”

Senat is 6-foot and 314 pounds. He lifted 225 pounds 35 times at the NFL scouting combine.

Senat had 179 career tackles and 23.5 tackles for losses over his college career.

The Falcons had a need at defensive tackle after letting Dontari Poe leave in free agency.

“I have my mentor,” Senat said. “I have my pastor who is really, really close to me. I speak to them on a daily basis. I have them guiding my life. Being around with me, they are going to inspire me to do great things.”

Senat doesn’t mind being a role model.

“I didn’t know I had influence on Immokalee,” he said. “I didn’t know I had influence on these people around me.”

But there is always going to feel like something is missing.

“I know my people are gone, but they left for a reason,” Senat said. “They left me here to do better things.”

Football-wise, Senat is just fine.

“I want to play on Sundays,” Senat said. “I just want to be able to play, help the team win games. I want to be that guy that helped. I contributed to this, that is all that I want.”

Senat followed his father’s orders and did move his sister to Tampa.

“I’m very close to my sister and she has three kids,” Senat said. “I want to see them grow up and do better than what I did. I want to see them go to a better school. I want to see them do better than me. I’m just so happy to have this opportunity to play football and continue my career in the NFL as a professional.”