Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for The Bachelorette.
The eighteenth season of The Bachelorette is set to kick off on Oct. 19 with Michelle Young in the driver’s seat. Viewers can look forward to meeting a new crop of 30 eligible suitors who are all vying for her heart — and to see whether they are there for the “right reasons” or not.
Though one joy of watching any given season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette is attempting to identify who the next lead will be, ABC has already revealed that Michelle’s contestant, Clayton Echard, will be the star of Season 26.
While viewers have yet to formally meet Clayton, his upcoming position as The Bachelor means that he will likely be a standout contender on Michelle’s season.
Read on to find out more about Clayton — including his football past, his current job, and why Michelle thinks he’s one to watch.
The 28-year-old was born and raised in Missouri, and he’s one of three boys (his brothers are Nate Echard and Patrick Echard).
Clayton played Division I football for the University of Missouri, Columbia. He obtained his undergraduate degree in 2015 from the university in Health Sciences (he also minored in Spanish and in Business).
Following his four years as a tight end in college, Clayton signed with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. He played in several preseason games, but he ultimately did not make the final roster.
After his time in the NFL came to an end, Clayton took a job as a sales representative for Stryker Orthopaedics in Columbia, Mo. He’s been working for the company for three years, and he’s also in the process of getting his MBA in Health/Health Care Administration/Management from Southeast Missouri State University.
According to his Bachelorette bio, Clayton is looking for a woman who is “funny, independent, intelligent, and athletic.” He admires Michelle because she is a teacher, just like his mom.
While things clearly do not work out with Michelle (given his upcoming role on the next installment of The Bachelor), the Minnesota native had only positive things to say about Clayton.
Ahead of the Season 18 premiere, Michelle spoke with Entertainment Tonight about her time as the lead. She also opened up… Brinkwire short summary.