Clayton Echard's Season Of 'The Bachelor’ Starts Tonight—And It Looks Messy

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·5 min read
Clayton Echard's Season Of 'The Bachelor’ Starts Tonight—And It Looks Messy
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Bachelor Nation is buzzing about the next Bachelor. His season starts tonight. And now, fans finally have a name (and a face!) to root for. And a new announcement confirms that ABC's next leading man is 28-year-old Clayton Echard.

The roses will be handed out by a totally fresh face! ABC's next hunky suitor is a contestant from Michelle Young's Bachelorette season. Michelle's list of guys is super impressive, so it's no surprise that one of them has what it takes to be the star of his own season.

Clayton's journey, which will premiere on Jan. 3rd, has already finished filming—and there's a lot to learn about him before then. Here's everything to know about Clayton, from his job to his fam (and everything in between!).

Warning: major spoilers ahead! Do not keep reading if you don't want to know what happens on Season 26 of The Bachelor before it airs on ABC!

His name is Clayton Echard.

Clayton himself revealed the big news on Instagram: "Hi, it’s me Clayton…. #thebachelor," he captioned his post.

The host of season 26, former Bachelor Jesse Palmer, also posted a snap on Instagram back in October that proves he's totally in Clayton's corner. "Meet my younger, bigger, better looking brother from another mother, @claytonechard 🌹#TheBachelor," Jesse captioned the pic.

And, Bachelor franchise producer Mike Fleiss was positively gushing about the newbie on Twitter: "Major Announcement!!! Your new #TheBachelor is a great guy from Michelle’s season of #TheBachelorette . Can’t wait for you to meet him!" he wrote.

Plus, Reality Steve, the king of Bachelor Nation spoilers, revealed that he was positive The Bachelor had to be Clayton back in September. Steve shared all the deets on the star of season 26: "Looks like Clayton Echard is going to be the next Bachelor," he Tweeted.

Clayton is 28 and hails from Eureka, Missouri, according to Steve. Just look at that megawatt smile!

He's totally ready to find the love of his life.

In a video shared by St. Louis' Fox affiliate, Clayton was spotted filming in downtown Eureka, Missouri. With a camera crew in tow, he thanked a group of fans for wishing him well on his Bachelor journey and mentioned how ready he was to meet that special someone. "I'm excited, I'm also very, very nervous," he said. "I'm hoping to find my person."

You can watch the clip here:

And, he revealed that "it doesn't feel real at times" in an interview with Good Morning America. "I was so incredibly honored and humbled to have had the experience, learned a lot about myself and it has been quite the journey," Clayton explained.

Oh, and he even dropped a little spoiler for fans: "I did find love, and I was a little skeptical going into the whole journey but I'm so pleasantly surprised that things worked out much different than what I had thought," he said. "I'm just so excited to watch it back and have everyone else watch it as well."

Clayton played football in college and almost went pro.

According to his Instagram bio, Clayton is a "former freestyle rapper and washed-up athlete now trying his luck in orthopedic sales."

He played Division I football in college for the University of Missouri-Columbia Tigers while earning his Bachelor's degree in Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, based on his LinkedIn. He also minored in Business and Spanish. After starting his sophomore year as a defensive lineman, Clayton found his calling as a tight end, according to the team's roster.

After graduating in 2016, Clayton tried out for the Seattle Seahawks and successfully signed on as a free agent. He played in four preseason games and survived the first round of cuts, but he wrote on his LinkedIn that he didn't end up making the team.

Photo credit: claytonechard Instagram
Photo credit: claytonechard Instagram

"Definitely miss these days! I think I still have a couple good plays in me..." he captioned an old football pic on Instagram.

Now, he works in orthopedic sales.

Clayton currently works as a sales representative for Stryker, where he sells medical equipment to hospitals. He's worked his way up at the company for five years (so, yep, he's at least a little career-oriented).

Clayton even posts pics on the job, in scrubs and everything: "3 competitor reps working together to provide a superior patient outcome!" he captioned an old snap.

Photo credit: claytonechard Instagram
Photo credit: claytonechard Instagram

He's also working on earning his MBA in Health Care Administration/Management online from Southeast Missouri State University. A total smarty? We love to see it.

Clayton is pretty outdoorsy, and he's big into family.

Fitness is super important to Clayton: "I enjoy hiking and biking on the nature trails around the Columbia area," he wrote on his LinkedIn. "I make it my duty to emphasize living a healthy lifestyle, therefore I exercise daily and am in the process of learning to cook healthy meals that also surprisingly have flavor!" Plus, his IG is filled with pics of him crushing super intense workouts at the gym.

Photo credit: claytonechard Instagram
Photo credit: claytonechard Instagram

He's also pretty adventurous, and he enjoys hiking or boating with his friends and fam. (Here's hoping the ladies of season 26 can keep up with him!)

Clayton is also one of three brothers. His siblings, Patrick and Nate, star in quite a few of his old posts, usually alongside their dad and mom, Kelly.

Photo credit: claytonechard Instagram
Photo credit: claytonechard Instagram

Filming for the next season of the Bachelor has officially wrapped. So watch out for Clayton to pop up on Michelle Young's journey to find love this fall—and get ready for his premiere on ABC in January 2022.

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