On Wednesday, reports surfaced that Clayton Echard, a 28-year-old orthopedic sales rep from Eureka, Missouri, was cast as the next franchise lead after his yet-to-be-aired exit on Michelle's season of The Bachelorette.
ET has reached out to ABC and Warner Bros. for comment.
The speculation began after E!published photos of a man that resembled Clayton filming what appeared to be a promo shoot for The Bachelor outside of a house in his native Missouri.
Sources told Us Weekly that Tyler Cameron, who appeared on Hannah Brown's season, was also in the running. Page Sixreported that Andrew Spencer and Michael Allio, both of whom appeared on Katie's season, were likewise considered.
A source told Page Six that Clayton "impressed everyone on set and is definitely a big upgrade from any of Katie’s guys."
Keep reading for everything you need to know about Clayton Echard.
He Played College Football -- and Tried Out for the NFL
Clayton attended the University of Missouri, during which time he played 37 games for the school's Division I football team, most of the time as a tight end. In 2016, Clayton beat out four other tight ends on a tryout basis with the Seattle Seahawks, before signing on as a free agent. While he didn't end up making the team, Clayton did play in four preseason games.
Clayton earned a 3.6 GPA while in his undergrad program, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in health professions and related clinical sciences. He additionally minored in both business and Spanish. He opted to continue his education this year, when he entered an online master's program at Southeast Missouri State University. He expects to graduate in 2023 with a MBA in healthcare administration and management.
Clayton has been a sales representative at Stryker Orthopaedics, a medical device sales company, since 2018. He began working for the company in 2016 as a sales associate. In his current role, Clayton is responsible for sustaining consistent growth in both the Joint Reconstructive and Trauma fields in the Columbia, Missouri, area. He plans to continue working in the industry, which he considers both "challenging" and "rewarding."
When he's not working or studying, Clayton enjoys working out, hiking and biking. He's also learning to cook healthy meals, and makes it a point to practice his Spanish skills. He hopes to one day become fluent. Additionally, Clayton listed the causes he cares about as animal welfare, civil rights and social action, economic empowerment, education, environment, health, human rights, poverty alleviation, science and technology, and social services
Much of Clayton's Instagram is filled with pics of his parents and his two brothers, Nate and Patrick. The family appears to be a close one; Clayton's shared photos of him and his brothers at the beach, out to eat, hiking and more. He and his brothers previously celebrated their mom's birthday by going axe throwing, and their dad's special day with a homemade cake.
Michelle Young's season of The Bachelorette will premiere Oct. 19. The Bachelor typically airs in January, though an official premiere date has yet to be announced. Bachelor in Paradise is currently airing Tuesdays on ABC.