ABC's next Bachelor Clayton Echard is reportedly a fresh face, according to Variety. Fans won't get to know him on-screen until Oct. 19, as he stars in the upcoming season of The Bachelorette. While he obviously doesn't win the heart of Michelle Young, he clearly won the attention of the show's producers, considering he was already announced before the season aired.
The network hasn't confirmed the news yet but after some photos were released of Echard with a camera crew, fans have started wondering if he'll be the next star. He won't be announced anytime soon, but the outlet reports that sources say production is expected to start this month.
Echard is a 28-year-old from Missouri. He attended the University of Missouri on a football scholarship, where he played as a short-yardage tight end. In 2016, he signed with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted rookie. But it was a short-lived NFL career. He walked away from the sport in September of the same year, only being with the team for a total of two months. Aside from his reality TV dreams, he claims he's a "former freestyle rapper and washed up athlete now trying his luck in orthopaedic sales," according to his Instagram. At the time of Variety's story on Wednesday, Echard had only 1,648 followers on Instagram –– that number has quickly risen to 12,500 and is rapidly growing.
Echard quickly rose to the top of producers' short-list, beating out a number of other contenders, after producers watched him on the upcoming season of The Bachelorette. Insiders told the outlet Greg Grippo was one of the men being considered but ABC passed on him after he earned some negative press surrounding some of his final episodes with Katie Thurston. He also faced some negative rumors that he was on the show as an actor with no intentions of finding love. ABC also looked into contestants for Bachelor in Paradise as well, but no cigar.
Young, on the other hand, first appeared during Matt James' season of The Bachelor. Since she was easily one of the favorites from his season, fans are extremely likely to tune into her turn as the star in a season that's being called "one of the best seasons in recent memory" by insiders.