Clayton Echard is set to be the next Bachelor for Season 26 and fans everywhere are wondering who this new mystery man is. While ABC has yet to confirm Clayton as the season’s leading man, sources close to production have said that filming for his season is already underway.
Clayton is a fresh face for the TV franchise, too. He was brought in during Michelle Young’s season of The Bachelorette which is scheduled to premiere on October 19, and producers liked him so much that they already gave him his own season!
This is the first time that a future Bachelor has been announced while also being set to be a contestant on a current season of The Bachelorette. While that does mean that Clayton and Michelle won’t fall in love themselves, he could play a big part in her season.
Michelle spoke to Good Morning America and said that she hopes her season will bring positive change to the franchise. Michelle said “They know that I’m going to push forward to make an impact in a positive way,” Michelle said, mentioning the string of racist controversies the franchise has faced in the past. “And I think they’re kind of jumping on my train to do that with me.”
Clayton Echard used to play football for the Seattle Seahawks. Originally from Eureka, Missouri, he played football for his college team and then was drafted onto the Seahawks in 2016. It’s unclear why he stopped playing football, but according to his Instagram bio he jokingly calls himself a “washed-up athlete.”
Nowadays, the future reality TV star is focusing on a different career path and is trying his hand a orthopedic sales, that is when he finds time in busy freestyle rap schedule! Fans might get a chance to hear his sick beats on the set of The Bachelorette.
While fans may have been expecting one of Katie Thurston’s men to be the lead for the next season, the show’s producers said that the quality of men during Michelle’s season was too great to pass up. “The caliber of men who came on to Michelle’s season was incredible. Each guy was hotter than the next and so many of them treated her like a queen,” a source said. “There was so much excitement about a lot of them. Clayton was no exception.”
Before Clayton was picked, many fans were excepting Greg Grippo, Andrew Spencer, or Michael Allio to be on the shortlist for Season 26. Each man had made an impact on Katie Thurston’s season of The Bachelorette, but after talking it over producers realized that there was too much controversy surrounding the men to pick them as the next frontman.
Andrew Spencer’s offensive Twitter page came to light after his time on the show. While the 26-year-old had since apologized for his mistakes, it was too late. Greg Grippo, 28, was also accused by fans and former Bachelorettes alike for gaslighting Katie during their breakup.
Here’s to hoping that Clayton will win the hearts of Bachelor Nation and find love in his own season!