Former NFL player Clayton Echard wearing a black zip-up hoodie and gray tshirt smiling for portrait photo in Columbia, Missouri

Clayton Echard is Announced as Bachelor for Season 26

Clayton Echard will officially be the next star of The Bachelor when the show returns to television in 2022. The former NFL player was revealed to be taking on the role after Michelle Young broke up with him on season 18 of The Bachelorette.

After Young sent him home, he left saying how desperately he wanted to find love and have a family. “I want it more than anything else and I’ll do whatever it takes to get that. Whatever it takes,” he said tearfully.

The split was shocking to fans who saw what a great impression Echard had made on Young and her students. When they did split, however, he received letters from a couple of Young’s students which lead him to break down in tears expressing how much he desires a wife and a family.

After months of speculations and rumors, it is confirmed Echard will be bringing fans along on his own journey to find love. “I’m just a Midwest guy from Missouri that just wants to find love. I believe more than anything that my future wife is here,” he said in the teaser on ABC.

Despite their breakup, Young speaks highly of Echard. She said in an interview with PEOPLE that he is someone who is constantly wanting to grow and learn. She said that he brought her on the journey of learning about herself and really gave her a fresh perspective on things because he’s a very reflective person.

During an interview with Good Morning America, Echard said that he had a list of things he was looking for in a woman. When asked if he found love, he replied, “I did find love. 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.”

Echard attended the University of Missouri where he earned his degree in health science and minors in business and Spanish. After playing football in college, he went on to play in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. He currently works in medical sales. However, he is on the path to starting his own business as he works towards his MBA.

Clayton’s season of The Bachelor will premiere on Monday, January 3rd on ABC.

Photo via Instagram user @claytonechard

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