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Two BU graduates working tirelessly to house Ochocinco

When it was finalized that Chad Ochocinco would be a member of the New England Patriots, it became known that his arrival to Boston also meant the presence of his elite pass-catching skills, speed and of course his eccentric, outspoken personality.

But with Ochocinco’s move to the Bay State came something else entirely – an opportunity of a lifetime for a lucky Patriots fan, as the wide receiver announced in early August that he wanted to live with a fan for the first few weeks of the regular season in order to, as he said it, “get myself acclimated and learn my way around.”

As the long-awaited start of the professional football season nears, that dream of housing a NFL superstar remains alive, if even faintly, for Kaelin Merrihew and Kaitlin Quinn, two recent Boston University graduates.

Having just graduated from the College of Communication in May with degrees in journalism, Merrihew and Quinn were looking for a constructive use of time and space in their Back Bay apartment – and for them, nothing fulfilled that goal more than the chance to house someone with the status and personality of Ochocinco.

“We were hoping to just do something fun – we had both just graduated and don’t really have any direct plans right now,” Merrihew said. “I had heard that he wanted to live with a fan and decided that it had to be Kaitlin and me.”

Obviously, Ochocinco’s desire to live with a fan was not something that caught the attention of Merrihew and Quinn alone, especially in a town that has developed an overwhelming passion for the Patriots in the last decade.

Thus, Quinn and Merrihew have had to devise inventive ways to get their desire across to a wide audience. And in this day and age, the solution became relatively simple – turn to the power of social media.

The two have started a Tumblr blog, aptly titled “Ochocino Reasons,” along with a corresponding Twitter account, in which they do just that – give the object of their collective attention 85 reasons as to why he should choose them over any of his other nearly three million followers on Twitter.

The reasons range from No. 5 on the list – “3 TVs, 3 Xboxs. Just try and say no” – to No. 19 – “God forbid you pull a hammy, we have a doctor next door” – even all the way to No. 24 – “Kaelin was a yoga instructor.”

The duo has collected 174 followers on Twitter since they started the account days after Ochocinco made the announcement. They even managed to draw the attention of the man himself, as Ochocinco direct messaged Merrihew and Quinn on two separate occasions, something that helped bring 20,000 hits to their blog, according to Merrihew.

They have not been able to message Ochocinco back because he doesn’t follow their Twitter account, something that Merrihew said they are “working on.”

Though Merrihew noted that she wishes their Twitter account had more followers in order to help better convince Ochocinco, the two BU graduates are happy with the traction their efforts have gained, something that has included the direct contact with Ochocinco and a shout-out on the Matty in the Morning show on Kiss 108 FM.

“We’re excited to just be in the running,” Quinn said. “We know we’re on his radar and we’re just trying to kind of hone it in.”

As if millions of adoring followers also hoping to house Ochocinco was not enough, several obstacles remain in the way of Merrihew and Quinn, though they both feel they can overcome the challenges.

For one, the former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver had previously said that he would only live with a Patriots season ticket holder. However, the other problem is a far more sensitive, tenuous matter – Ochocinco’s fiancée, Evelyn Lozada.

The “Basketball Wives” star, who was once engaged to former Boston Celtics star Antoine Walker, accepted Ochocinco’s marriage proposal in November 2010 and has gone on the record that she does not want her fiancée living with females.

Although the two posted “We’re single” as Reason No. 30, they have reached out to Lozada and insisted that they don’t intend to, as Merrihew put it, “pull a fast one on her.”

For some like Lozada, the efforts of two single recent college graduates trying to get a NFL star to live with them may seem dubious, but for Merrihew and Quinn, the work they’ve put forth is indicative of nothing more than two fans working towards a common goal for an uncommon, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Our intentions are fine,” Quinn said. “We’re just looking to show him around Boston and just to have the experience of a New England Patriot living in our apartment is just beyond what we thought would happen this summer.”

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