The Bachelor is returning for its 26th season, and ABC has found its star of the upcoming series. Clayton Echard will be the new Bachelor, but fans will see him before the new season airs as he's one of the contestants of the new season of The Bachelorette, which will premiere on Oct. 16. While Bachelor Nation doesn't know much about Echard, football fans are familiar with him as he played college football at the University of Missouri.
Echard, 28, was a member of the Tigers from 2012-2015 and played on special teams, offense and defense before settling in as a tight end. His Missouri bio says that he played in 37 games and caught two passes for 14 years. On defense, Echard recorded nine tackles.
"I have learned how to interact and cooperate with my team members who, collectively, possess many diverse cultural, social, ethnic, and political backgrounds," Echard said in his LinkedIn bio. "With over a hundred and twenty teammates, it is crucial to utilize teamwork as a means of accomplishing a common goal. Especially when adversity strikes, our team must maintain a high level of focus and confidence as we work together through stressful situations."
Once he graduated from Missouri, Echard signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks. He didn't see any action as he was cut before the 2016 season began. "After outperforming 4 other tight ends on a tryout basis with the Seattle Seahawks, I signed on as a free agent," Echard said on LinkedIn. "While there, I practiced daily with the team and played in 4 preseason games. I made it past the first round of cuts, however, I was not able to make the final roster. Nonetheless, it was a unique experience that I was blessed to be a part of."
The Bachelor first aired in 2002 and has produced 263 episodes. The success of The Bachelor led to a number of spinoffs, including The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise, The Bachelor Winter Games, The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart, The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons – Ever!, and The Bachelor Summer Games. The latest of The Bachelor episode aired in January with Matt James as the Bachelor. He picked Rachael Kirkconnell over Michelle Young, who is the next Bachelorette.