EAST ORANGE — A college athlete born and raised in New Jersey has signed a deal to finally profit off his viral fame as the “Popeyes meme kid” for almost a decade.

Dieunerst Collin was 9 years old when a stranger videoed him coming out of a fast food restaurant, mistaking him for another child who was already “internet famous.”

The image has been used ever since to express “side-eye” disapproval or suspicion.

Collin went on to become a standout football player for East Orange High School — his team won a state championship game in triple overtime in November 2021.

He then enrolled at Lake Erie College in Ohio, where he is a freshman offensive lineman.

NJ meme kid gets Popeyes deal as college football player (courtesy Dieurnest Collin)
NJ meme kid gets Popeyes deal as college football player (courtesy Dieurnest Collin)

A side-by-side photo of Collin from the "Popeyes meme" and on the field for East Orange High began to draw support in January — as Collin urged commenters to tag the fast food giant in order to “talk.”

Popeyes listened within two weeks and responded on Twitter.

The NCAA officially made it legal for college athletes to profit off of their “Name Image and Likeness” in 2021.

This winter, football fans are also keeping their eyes out for pros with New Jersey roots ahead of the NFL's conference championship games and the Super Bowl.

NFL pros from New Jersey

Some of them may even be on your fantasy football team.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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