How a Popeyes Meme Meant To Fat-Shame, Blossomed Into An NIL Cashout For D-II Football Player

(Photo: @Jerseystar973/Twitter)

Dieunerst Collin’s viral meme from nearly ten years ago is still making headlines. Collin recently signed a name, image, and likeness (NIL) deal with Popeyes after Twitter questioned the fast food chain for him not already being signed to a deal.

The 6-foot-1, 330-pound offensive lineman is now a freshman playing at D-II Erie College. Collin was redshirted this past season and didn’t see any action on the field, but his viral moment still has him in the spotlight.

“I didn’t know the internet was like that,” Collins said on his live instagram. “Now I know to never doubt the internet.”

Shortly after his live instagram, Popeyes made the official announcement on their Twitter page on the evening of Jan. 10 — signaling they signed him to a deal.

This all resurfaced a year ago after Colin tweeted about how he went from “Popeyes meme kid” to state champion for East Orange High School in his senior season.

‘I Would Say Don’t Take It Personal’ | Bullied Viral Meme To Football Champion, Dieunerst Collin Didn’t Let Unwanted Fame Crush His Spirit


Collin sparked the conversation via his Twitter on Jan. 8 after he made a tweet hinting at the idea of a partnership with Popeyes.

Once ashamed of letting the world know who he was, now he has embraced it and put money in his pocket.

The same people that teased him when he was in middle school about the viral meme can now watch him laugh all the way to the bank.

How Much Did Popeyes Pay In NIL Deal?

The details of the NIL deal haven’t been released, but deals are typically bigger depending on the caliber of the athlete and how marketable an athlete is. That determines their NIL valuation. The common misconception is that the NIL depends on which school an athlete attends. That is a factor, but not always the case.


College Player With The Most NIL Deals?

Norfolk State University’s running back Rayquan Smith signed over 70 NIL deals ahead of this college football season. The FCS product had the most in all of college football.

Companies want to maximize when they sign college athletes to these NIL deals and the best way to do that is to get athletes that have huge followings on social media. Also, they want athletes with a recognizable face.

Alabama’s Bryce Young Secures $1M In NIL Deals | He Hasn’t Started A Game Yet For The Crimson Tide


That is where Collins fits in and he could have possibly started a trend that allows former viral stars to capitalize on NIL deals. Turn the awkward stages of youth into lifelong checks.