Grateful for the support. Days after Us Weekly confirmed that Clayton Echard would be the season 26 lead of The Bachelor, he thanked his family and friends for their support amid his new reality TV journey.
“Behind every good person is an even greater group of people,” the Missouri native, 28, shared via Instagram on Saturday, September 18. “Feeling thankful 🙌.”
The orthopedic sales rep shared two photos on the social media site: One with his parents and another with a pair of friends celebrating their engagement. In the first snap, the University of Missouri alum wore a light blue T-shirt and a pair of black slacks, beaming beside his folks. His mom, Kelly Echard, showcased her hometown pride, wearing a St. Louis Cardinals top with a pair of ripped jeans and a blue scarf tied around her neck. His dad opted for a casual look in a teal collared shirt and shorts. In the second photo, the former football player wore a denim-on-denim outfit, smiling next to his friends.
The former tight end’s mom also commented on her son’s post, writing, “Love you so much and proud! 😍.”
In response to the Bachelorette season 18 contestant’s sweet message, several Bachelor Nation fans shared their excitement to watch his upcoming season.
“Super excited to watch your journey,” one Instagram user commented on his post, as another noted, “We’re so excited to support you. ❤️.”
Days earlier, the former Seattle Seahawks athlete was spotted filming what appeared to be scenes for the new season in his hometown of Eureka. During the taping, a “Go Find Love Clayton” sign was hung up downtown on Thursday, September 16.
“I’m excited,” the new Bachelor said in a video shared by St. Louis’ Fox News affiliate later that day. “I’m also very, very nervous, and I’m looking to find my person.”
The former athlete, who was initially introduced to Bachelor Nation on Michelle Young’s season of The Bachelorette, apparently made a big impression on the show’s production team.
“Clayton stood out right off the bat,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly earlier this week. “Producers ended up going with him because they believed he was the best fit for the role. They wanted to switch things up and go with someone new and someone who hasn’t been in the spotlight yet.”
Though ABC hasn’t publicly confirmed that Clayton would be the next show lead, an insider shared the news with Us on Wednesday, September 15, after speculative photos surfaced online of the MBA student taping scenes for the show. The news came shortly after a source previously confirmed to Us that one of the 28-year-old Minnesota native’s suitors would lead season 26.
Clayton’s journey for love will begin on season 18 of The Bachelorette, which premieres on Tuesday, October 19, at 8 p.m. ET.