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It’s a meme come true: ‘Popeyes Kid’ is now a local college football player, lands NIL deal

Posted at 11:12 AM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 11:49:57-05

PAINESVILLE, Ohio — Dieunerst Collin has one of those familiar faces. It’s probably a face you know. It may even be a face you’ve used to get a laugh from your friends.

“I am a worldwide meme,” Collin said.

That’s right. Dieunerst Collin is the side-eyed social media star known to many as “Popeyes Kid,” and he's all grown up.

He still remembers the moment it all started: “My sister comes up to me and says, ‘Hey, you’re on Facebook.’ And I’m like, Facebook? What do you mean I’m on Facebook?”

A video of the then-9-year-old in line at a New Jersey Popeye’s has become one of the most iconic memes in internet history, and more than a decade later, Collin, now a freshman football player at Lake Erie College in Painesville, could be cashing in.

“I was like, ‘OK, let’s go ahead and see what the internet can do for you,’” he said.

Utilizing the NCAA’s new "name, image and likeness" opportunities, which allows players to profit, Collin took to Instagram in a plea to pair with Popeyes.

His post was liked tens of thousands of times in just hours.

“Less than 24 hours, they hit me up and said, OK, let’s make it happen,” he said.

The 18-year-old is now in the process of becoming a Popeyes ambassador — officially, this time.

“I’m just a guy being myself,” he said. “I will never doubt the internet again.”

The details of the deal are still being worked out, but Collin said he’s confident he can make the brand even bigger.

Good luck, Dieunerst — all eyes are on you!

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