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TravelGuides – Clayton Echard Is the New Bachelor for Season 26

TravelGuides – Clayton Echard Is the New Bachelor for Season 26

Bachelor Nation might’ve been sad to see Clayton Echard go on last week’s episode of The Bachelorette, but he’ll be back on the franchise as the Bachelor.

ABC announced Tuesday that the former NFL player, 28, will step in as the lead when the next installment of The Bachelor premieres in January, ending months of speculation surrounding Echard nabbing the position. 

The reveal came at the end of Tuesday’s Bachelorette episode in which Michelle Young embarked on hometown dates with her final four men, and narrowed it down to just three guys.

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“I’m just a Midwest guy from Missouri that just wants to find love,” Echard says in the first teaser for his season. “And I believe more than anything that my future wife is here.”

RELATED: Bachelorette Michelle Young on Juggling Teaching with the Show — and What Her Students Know About It

THE BACHELOR

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Echard joined season 18 of The Bachelorette as one of Young’s potential suitors. Echard and the elementary school teacher, 28, bonded early on over his mom working as a special education teacher.

“It really speaks to the type of person that you are,” he told Young in her season premiere. “Because they’re … teachers are some are some of the most passionate, caring, driven people that I’ve met, and made such a positive impact on my life.”

Unfortunately, their relationship crumbled when Young sent Echard home after their one-on-one date in last week’s episode.

“You’ve continued to show me how much you want to be the best for your future family. You completely checked every single box of all the qualities I’m looking for in somebody,” Young said to Echard at the end of their date. “But I know that giving out this rose means I’m ready to meet your family and I don’t feel that I’m able to get there with you in time. And this is incredibly difficult for me because not being able to give you this rose doesn’t mean that you’re not enough. It’s, for me, about following my heart.”

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RELATED VIDEO: Bachelorette Michelle Young on Her ‘Bizarre’ TV Love Journey That She ‘Would Not Change’

After being eliminated, Echard found himself in tears. “I just want to find love so badly and have a family. And start that chapter in my life,” he told cameras during his final Bachelorette episode. “I want it more than anything else. I’ll do whatever it takes to get that. Whatever it takes.”  

Speaking with PEOPLE, Young described Echard as “a very reflective person.”

“He is a person who is constantly wanting to grow, constantly wanting to learn, and I felt like he really brought me along with that journey of learning about yourself and talking about that process,” she said. “It was the first time a male has really just kept me up to date with that journey, and that gave me a new perspective on some things.”

Former Bachelor and NFL player Jesse Palmer will host Echard’s season following Chris Harrison‘s exit from the franchise earlier this year. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be home,” Palmer, 46, wrote on Instagram in September of returning to the show.

Palmer additionally referred to the medical sales rep as his “bigger, better looking brother from another mother.”

RELATED: The Bachelor‘s Jesse Palmer and Model Emely Fardo Are Married: We’re ‘Lucky to Have Found Each Other’

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Also in September, ABC teased a group of 33 women who might appear on The Bachelor season 26, featuring ladies hailing from Berlin to Los Angeles and ranging from ages 23 to 33. The network has yet to announce Echard’s final group of suitors.

The Bachelor season 26 premieres Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

TravelGuides – Clayton Echard Is the New Bachelor for Season 26

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