Columbia sports fans were used to seeing Clayton Echard on their TVs on Saturdays for football games. Soon, he could return to the screen Monday nights, this time on ABC's "The Bachelor."
According to Variety, the upcoming season of "The Bachelor" might star Echard, a 2015 MU graduate and former Tigers football player.
Variety broke the news of Echard’s probable stint on the reality show, stating multiple sources confirmed him as the network’s pick. However, he hasn’t been officially announced as the star just yet.
Not the bachelor being from MIZZOU BABY— mikaela ashley (@mikaelanicash) September 16, 2021
Before season 26 of "The Bachelor" airs, Echard will compete on season 18 of "The Bachelorette," premiering Oct. 19.
Eureka native Clayton Echard, the next “Bachelor”, and a film crew from the show will be on location in downtown Eureka today around 3:00. Eureka folks are welcome to come down to wish him good luck on the show and watch the shoot. pic.twitter.com/rF6t3CEvaR— Sean Flower (@Mayor_Flower) September 16, 2021
(UPDATE): It is official. Clayton Echard is the next Bachelor. He is from Michelle’s season. So he’ll be 3 weeks into filming his season before you ever see him on your screen. They will be filming at Eureka HS tmrw - his old high school - for more intro package footage. pic.twitter.com/HkUF6HbGZ7— RealitySteve (@RealitySteve) September 15, 2021
Echard played for the Tigers as a tight end throughout his four years at the university. After graduating in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences and a double minor in Spanish and business, he signed with the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent but didn’t make it onto the final roster.
Now, according to Us Weekly, Echard works in Columbia as a sales representative for Stryker, a medical technology company. He’s also pursuing an online master's degree in business administration at Southeast Missouri State University and is slated to graduate in 2023.
Echard isn’t the first MU grad to wind up in the "Bachelor" franchise. Sarah Trott, a class of 2018 student and broadcast journalism major, was a contestant on the show’s 25th season earlier this year.
Lauren Zima, a class of 2009 student and alumna of the School of Journalism, is now a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight and hosts a "Bachelor" recap show called "Roses and Rosé," which is available on the program’s YouTube channel.
According to Variety, insiders say production for Echard’s season begins this month. Producers reportedly “fell in love” with Echard, who rose to the top of ABC’s shortlist despite competition from other suitors.
“Clayton is a very personable young man, engaging, outgoing, and an excellent communicator,” reads a letter of recommendation from Rex Sharp, MU’s now-retired associate athletic director for Sports Medicine, available on Echard’s LinkedIn. “... His character is above reproach.”