The Popeye’s meme kid grew up to become a D-II college football player with an NIL deal

Dieunerst Collin is one internet celebrity success story we can all get behind

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Dieunerst Collin, the kid from your favorite meme, will soon be hawking your favorite chicken.
Dieunerst Collin, the kid from your favorite meme, will soon be hawking your favorite chicken.
Image: Getty Images

It’s funny how life works sometimes. One minute you’re a nine-year-old kid who becomes a social media meme for giving the stink eye to a camera at Popeyes, the next, you’re a college freshman signing a name image and likeness deal with the same fast-food chain that made you famous. Thus, the full circle moment has been completed for Dieunerst Collin, who is currently a freshman at D-II Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio.

Collin went viral in 2013 for a video taken of him inside a Popeyes lobby, which subsequently became a meme that made him internet famous for giving the side-eye while holding a drink. Nearly a decade later, Dieunerst has grown up and plays on the offensive line for Lake Erie College. In 2021, Collin won a State championship with East Orange Campus High School in New Jersey.

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This is what you call a feel-good moment for this kid, who wasn’t searching endlessly for internet clout like so many people on social media today. The 6-foot-1, 330-pound college freshman was a seemingly unwilling participant in an internet video in his youth that blew up and made him the online face of Popeyes chicken. He’s already better than Jerry Rice.

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Collin scored this NIL deal due mainly to the same video/meme from his childhood and fan support. That is what the American dream is all about. The fact that Collin plays D-II football and acquired this deal is icing on the cake. The terms of the agreement are undisclosed at the moment, but it’s good to see a kid come out on top of a situation he had no control over.