'The Bachelor' Announces Colton Underwood as Next Leading Man

It will be Colton Underwood handing out the roses during the next season of The Bachelor!

The 26-year-old former football player first appeared during Becca Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette earlier this year and was announced as the star of the upcoming season of the ABC reality dating show on Tuesday, Sep. 4 during a Good Morning America segment.

"I'm very excited," Underwood told PEOPLE of his new gig. "I'm so grateful. I can't tell you how much I've been smiling."

Underwood may have only made it to the hometown dates before being sent home by Kufrin, but his complicated romance with Bachelor Nation's Tia Booth has definitely made him a memorable suitor.

Booth and Kufrin both appeared on Arie Luyendyk Jr.'s season of The Bachelor prior to her starring role on The Bachelorette, so when Underwood admitted to Kufrin that he and Booth had dated briefly prior to him coming on the show, the Minnesota native was understandably confused as to his motives with her.

And while Underwood did eventually convince her he was over Booth, she still sent him home following a visit from Booth, who admitted she still had feelings for her ex.

The two were reunited during this ongoing season of Bachelor in Paradise, where after some initial drama regarding whether Underwood was ready to settle down with the Arkansas native, the two appeared to be in it for the long haul prior to Monday's extended episode of Paradise, during which he split with a shocked Booth, saying he felt like his heart wasn't really in their relationship.

"Obviously you can tell how it was all so emotional for me," Underwood told PEOPLE of his journey with the two women. "But it was also good for me. I can't say enough good things about Becca and enough good things about Tia. They've helped me grow and discover who I am and what I'm looking for in a wife."

While speaking with Us Weekly last month, Underwood said he would definitely be on board for being the next Bachelor if things didn't work out between him and Booth.

"If I was single after Paradise, I would love it," he said. "I know that this show can work. I've seen it with Garrett [Yrigoyen] and Becca Kufrin. I know what it did for me as a person and how it helped me grow into the man I am today. I would love the opportunity if I'm single after Paradise."


Photo credit: ABC, Getty/John Medina