Fans pushed for a NIL deal for Collin, saying that he should be rewarded with a contract because he had just won a state championship in 2021.
We're all familiar with the "Side-eye Popeyes kid" meme which has been circulating the internet for quite some time now. Well, turns out that things have taken a turn for him for the better! Apparently, the kid in the meme is a part of a football team and he just received a NIL deal, which stands for name, image, and likeness. However, the story leading up to his stardom is pretty funny in itself. Dieunerst Collin was waiting in line at Popeye's when a random stranger approached him thinking he was the internet sensation, Terio. The stranger had asked Collin to do the signature "ooh" sound. Collin had no idea and didn't know what the stranger meant so he was just videotaped while making the iconic awkward face with his eyes wavering.
Collin is now a freshman offensive lineman at D-II Lake Erie College, and he has gained himself a NIL deal with Popeyes. Fans pushed for a NIL deal for Collin, saying that he should be rewarded with a contract because he had just won a state championship in 2021. On January 8, Collin went on Twitter saying that he wanted to have a talk with popeyes. “I didn’t know the internet was like that,” Collin said on Instagram Live shortly after the fact. “Now I know to never doubt the internet. I appreciate that", reports Dexerto. It is amazing how his long-standing fame being a meme and making many laugh has finally given back something to him. There haven't been any clear terms regarding the deal, but in 2021 the NCAA lifted the rules surrounding it which meant that now college athletes could agree to NIL deals.
Dieurnest Collin on IG Live: "I didn't know the internet was like that" pic.twitter.com/ZE1s3O9OFj— Front Office Sports (@FOS) January 11, 2023
SportsCenter posted a photo of Collin on his own as the State Championship of East Orange High School football with a side-by-side picture of his meme. On this account, Collin had decided to benefit from his notoriety and well, the universe gave it to him. He tagged popeyes on his Instagram to attract attention to how he had once become viral. "I thought this is probably the opportunity I can get with Popeyes to at least reach out," Collin said, as per Espn. "I went on Instagram and decided to post asking everyone to repost and tag Popeyes, not knowing that I would get all the support I got. People just started to join, on my post and people that were on the 'SportsCenter' post, and I believe Monday afternoon was when Popeyes DM'ed me and said we actually want to work with you."
In an interview with Complex, Collin revealed that he wasn't publicly known for being a meme and that the aftermath of becoming an internet breakthrough was more of an anonymous thing that allegedly went on for eight years. He said, “I ain’t gonna lie to you. Before, I did take it as offensive. Now, I do take it as a joke. When I look back at it, I laugh at it. In general, I’m known as being a funny guy.” While growing up, Collin never really told anyone about him being a meme, saying, “What’s funny is no, I have not. People would just come up to me and ask, ‘Are you such and such?’ Sometimes I’d take it as a joke and say, ‘Nah that’s my twin brother.’ … I’m telling you, for years. I never said anything about it. Sometimes I’d comment on posts saying, ‘Yeah, that’s me,’ and people wouldn’t believe me.”
Collin was asked if he would ever consider making a remake of his Popeyes meme because if anything, netizens are going to love it. To this, he answered, “If Popeyes trying to do it all over again, I don’t mind.” And as far as his future with football is concerned he said, “Everyone wants to go pro. I want to go pro. Aside from that, I want to be a sports analyst. That’s all I talk about.”