Bachelor Clayton Echard’s Contestants for Season 26: See Photos, Ages and Jobs

It’s (almost) time! Bachelor star Clayton Echard‘s contestants for season 26 have been revealed, and the former football player has a slew of gorgeous women vying for his heart.

Clayton, 28, first appeared in Bachelor Nation as a contestant during Bachelorette star Michelle Young’s season. He was rumored to be the new leading man before season 18 even aired. 

The Missouri native admitted, “It doesn’t feel real at times,” being thrust into the spotlight and having the opportunity to find lifelong love. That being said, he revealed he “did find love” during his season while appearing on Good Morning America

“I was so incredibly honored and humbled to have had the experience, learned a lot about myself and it has been quite the journey,” Clayton said during an interview on November 30. “I was a little skeptical going into the whole journey but I’m so pleasantly surprised that things worked out much different than what I had thought.” 

The athlete revealed he definitely stepped out of his “comfort zone” and early promos for season 26 got fans extremely excited. During teasers, Clayton can be seen on camera saying that he got sexual and was “in love” with both of his final two contestants. 

“I want to be fully, fully transparent and I know it’s not easy to hear, but I was intimate with both of you,” the former Seattle Seahawks player said in a video, adding in a private confessional, “I’m so broken.”

As far as what he’s looking for in a future wife, Clayton’s “dream woman is funny, independent, intelligent and athletic enough to join him at the gym for a workout,” his ABC bio read. 

“He wants to find something truly special and is willing to put in the hard work to find love that will last forever,” his bio continued about the stud wanting a long-term partner. 

Although Clayton didn’t get a ton of on-camera time during Michelle’s season, producers thought he would be a great pick to lead his own season.

“Clayton stood out right off the bat,” an insider told Us Weekly about the leading man. “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.” 

Clayton also reflected on his Bachelor journey and falling in love again in an interview with the same outlet. “I actually used absolutes, which I no longer use anymore because this whole experience told me or taught me not to,” he explained. “I remember the first day I went in, I said, ‘I will not fall in love with multiple people.’ And, like, I was so serious about it. And then the journey began, and I was just battling with it mentally. I’m like, ‘No, no, there’s no way.’”

When it came down to it, the former athlete just couldn’t “fight” how he felt about multiple women while filming.

“I was like, you know what, quit fighting these feelings because if you do fight the feelings, you’re gonna hold back and then that’s gonna cause these women to potentially put up their walls,” he said. “One day it hit me, and I was like, ‘I’m in, you know, [I’m] falling in love with multiple women.’ And I kind of started laughing in disbelief. I don’t know if it was a nervous — I think it was a nervous laugh. But you know what, I realized, like, ‘You can’t fight these feelings, you have to allow them to come out.’”

We can’t wait to see how his season unfolds!

Keep scrolling to meet Clayton’s contestants for season 26 of The Bachelor!