GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- It’s official! Clayton Echard will get another shot at love as “The Bachelor’s” newest lead, beginning at 8 pm on Monday, Jan. 3. ABC recently shared the news months ahead of the hit dating show’s 26th season, revealing Clayton’s new role after he endured an “emotional and tear-stained exit from Michelle Young’s season of The Bachelorette.”  

Watch a showing of the emotional exit in the video featured below.  

Clayton was introduced to audiences during his witty arrival at the Bachelor mansion. The 28-year-old Medical Sales Rep greeted Michelle with a hug, a long ruler and a clever joke.  

“To no surprise, I heard you were a teacher. And to no surprise as well, I used to be a student. From time to time, I find myself getting in trouble due to my behavior, so in case I do happen to get out of line, I brought you something (a ruler),” he said. 

The Bachelorette then proceeded to give him a light spank with the ruler.  

“I’m going to be nice. It’s your first day of school. I want you to come back to class, you know,” she replied. 

Relive Clayton’s introduction in the video player below.  

Although his journey to finding love with Michelle ultimately came to an end, “the puppy-loving goofball with a heart of gold” is still ready to meet the love of his life. Ahead of the premiere, get to know the Missouri native on a deeper level.

Check out these fun facts shared by ABC.  

Meet Clayton Echard, “The Bachelor” Season 26  

“Nicknamed “Claynos” by his friends in the house due partly to his sculpted physique, Clayton grows stronger with every rose, opening himself up to Michelle in ways he never thought possible. This Midwestern man proves he is so much more than just a good-looking guy with a rock-hard bod. He’s a throwback romantic who’s not afraid to put himself out there for love. 

Clayton graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health science from the University of Missouri, where he also minored in business and Spanish. He currently works in medical sales but is embarking on his MBA with the intention of starting his own business. 

A walk-on for the University of Missouri football team, Clayton quickly became a scholarship player who took on a prominent role in guiding the team to back-to-back SEC championship games and a national top ten ranking. He even had a brief stint with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks before quickly realizing his football abilities didn’t quite match his business acumen. 

Photo courtesy of ABC

Back home in Missouri, Clayton enjoys spending time at his family home on Lake St. Louis. You can often find him there tubing out on the boat, fishing off the dock, or getting competitive over some cornhole with his friends, his two younger brothers, and his mom and dad. 

Growing up in the idyllic suburbs of St. Louis, Clayton had the perfect example of what marriage and love can be. His parents, Brian and Kelly, have been married for 29 years, and their relationship is precisely the kind Clayton so desperately wants for himself. Just like his parents, Clayton’s looking for a partner, a great love and a best friend.”

The Bachelor” premieres at 8 pm on Monday, Jan. 3 on My ABC WOTV4. Enjoy a preview in the video player below!