‘The Bachelor’ season 26: Clayton Echard announced as new lead

Clayton Echard has been tapped as the new Bachelor for the show’s upcoming 26th season.

Echard, a 28-year-old medical sales rep from Missouri, was a contestant on The Bachelorette’s current 18th season, making it to Michelle Young‘s top eight suitors before getting eliminated.

On his final date with Young, Echard opened up about having been focused on being considered “good enough” to others by chasing things he thought would bring him happiness for the past few years.  When breaking up with him on their one-on-one date, Young told Echard “you are enough” in one of the season’s most heartfelt moments.

“I just wanna find love so badly. And have a family. And start that chapter of my life,” Echard said in his tearful exit. “I want it more than anything else. And I’ll do whatever it takes to get that. Whatever it takes.”

Echard graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health science and minors in business and Spanish from the University of Missouri. Having played college football, Echard had a brief stint in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks in 2016.  He is now pursuing his MBA and hopes to start his own business one day.

Echard has two younger brothers and his parents have been married for 29 years. In his spare time, he likes to go tubing, fishing and play cornhole with his friends and family, according to his ABC bio.

The Bachelor season 26 premieres January 3 on ABC.

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