Clayton Echard just earned his first group-date rose on Michelle Young's The Bachelorette season, but he's hoping to spend quality time with Michelle on a one-on-one date soon.

Clayton is a 28-year-old orthopedic sales representative from Columbia, MO.


Clayton has gushed about Michelle being a teacher, like his own mother, and he has complimented Michelle's apparent confidence, poise and grace during the reality TV dating process.

Clayton and Michelle also bonded over having happy childhoods and role-model parents, and Clayton was crowned "The Ultimate Viking" during a group date.

"She is very passionate, she's intelligent, she's funny, she's beautiful. She's got all these great qualities. So it's really exciting to see somebody like her potentially being in my future for the rest of my life," Clayton shared in a confessional.

ABC has boasted about Clayton having "great looks, a great job and a wonderful family," but Clayton playfully calls himself a "washed-up athlete" on his Instagram bio.

Clayton, who has a similar look to former The Bachelor stars Sean Lowe or Colton Underwood, may have what it takes to win Michelle's attention and affection, but he has come catching up to do since other suitors have been given the opportunity to shine on one-on-one dates.

Until viewers can watch Clayton and Michelle's romance blossom on The Bachelorette's eighteenth season, let's learn some information about this handsome bachelor right now.

Below is a list of six facts Reality TV World has compiled about Clayton Echard.

Clayton Echard's professional football career was short-lived

Clayton played college football at the University of Missouri. (Fun fact: Clayton had a mohawk in college).

Clayton subsequently spent the 2016 NFL pre-season with the Seattle Seahawks after signing as an undrafted rookie following the NFL Draft.

Once his football career ended, Clayton tested his luck with medical sales. (He's also a rapper on the side with an alter-ego name of Clay-Doh).

While Clayton's medical-sales job is working for him right now, he would love to switch to the fitness industry and own multiple gyms one day.


The Bachelorette suitor says one thing is missing in his life

Clayton says the only thing missing in his life is the perfect woman.

Clayton's dream partner is funny, independent, intelligent and athletic enough to join him at the gym for a workout. His future wife will also have a passion for her career.

He wants to find something truly special and says he's willing to put in the hard work to find a love that will last forever.

Clayton has reportedly already been chosen as the next The Bachelor star

Before fans were even introduced to Clayton on The Bachelorette, reports surfaced in September that ABC had cast him as The Bachelor star for Season 26 in 2022.

ABC's alleged casting decision indicates Clayton probably did not receive Michelle's final rose. It's assumed Clayton either got his heart crushed by Michelle on the show or his star-quality and/or storyline made him a natural fit to become the franchise's new leading man.

In mid-September, photos leaked of Clayton appearing to film a promo shoot with a camera crew in his Missouri hometown of Eureka.

Around that same time, The Bachelor creator and executive producer Mike Fleiss also hinted at Clayton's participation and that he was ABC's choice for the show's next star.

Mike tweeted on September 15, "Major Announcement!!! Your new #TheBachelor is a great guy from Michelle's season of #TheBachelorette. Can't wait for you to meet him!"

Mike proceeded to write on Twitter, "Another Major Announcement!!! His first name starts with the letter 'C.' #TheBachelor."

Only three other bachelors on Michelle's season have names that begin with "C" -- Casey Woods, Christopher Gallant, and Chris Sutton.


Clayton was allegedly picked to be the Bachelor because of his story

According to insiders, producers fell in love with Clayton's "story" during Michelle's The Bachelorette season and so he rose to the top of their potential-next Bachelor list very quickly, Variety recently reported.

And a source told Us Weekly last month, "Clayton stood out right off the bat."

"Producers ended up going with him because they believed he was the best fit for the role," the source said.

ABC reportedly also loves the fact Clayton is a fresh face whom America still has to get to know.

"[Producers] wanted to switch things up and go with someone new and someone who hasn't been in the spotlight yet," the source explained. "The mystery makes it more exciting for the prospective contestants."

Clayton's alleged casting reportedly came out of left field, as a handful of other men -- including The Bachelorette 17 suitors Michael Allio, Greg Grippo and Andrew Spencer, reportedly -- were being considered.

"The crew found out about it last minute," the source told Us. "The decision wasn't even made until about a week prior to filming his intro."

Clayton all but confirmed his The Bachelor casting

Clayton addressed a crowd of people while being filmed in Eureka in September.

Clayton told fans he's "excited" about the opportunity to look for his "person" but also "very nervous" at the same time, according to St. Louis' Fox affiliate.

While ABC and Warner Bros. have yet to officially announce that Clayton will follow in Matt James' The Bachelor footsteps, a banner hangs in Eureka that reads, "Go Find Love Clayton," and the town's mayor, Sean Flower, said on Facebook that ABC had purchased the giant sign.

The Bachelorette co-hosts think Clayton will make a great Bachelor

Kaitlyn Bristowe told Extra in mid-October of Clayton, "I will say he was one of my favorite from Michelle's season because he was really emotionally available and secure in that. I think he would be really good as the Bachelor."

And Tayshia also shared with Extra, "I think he'd be a great Bachelor."

Tayshia elaborated, "Clayton was super fun and playful. I feel like when we did see him on a date, he was always having a good time and he always had a smile on his face... He always seemed really sweet."

Michelle has even gushed about Clayton to the press. She told Entertainment Tonight in October that Clayton is "a sweetheart" and definitely someone to keep an eye on this season.


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About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.