Entertainment TV Clayton Echard Found Love on 'The Bachelor' : 'Things Worked Out Much Different Than I Thought' ABC announced Tuesday that Clayton Echard, a contestant from Michelle Young’s Bachelorette season, would be the next Bachelor By Ally Mauch Published on December 1, 2021 11:16 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Clayton Echard is teasing one big detail from his upcoming Bachelor season. The former NFL player, 28, was announced as the next lead of the hit ABC series on Tuesday night, one week after he was sent home from Michelle Young's Bachelorette season. Echard's season is set to premiere in January. During a Wednesday appearance on Good Morning America, he revealed that his run as the Bachelor was successful. "I did find love," he said. "I was a little skeptical going into the whole journey, but I'm so pleasantly surprised that things worked out much different than I thought. Again, I'm just so excited to watch it back and have everyone else watch it as well." Earlier in the interview, Echard shared that he was "incredibly honored and just humbled" to have been on the show. "I learned a lot about myself and it has been quite the journey," he said. Clayton Echard Is the New Bachelor for Season 26 As for what he was looking for in a potential partner, he said he went in with "a checklist of sorts." "I was looking for somebody that was funny, intelligent, driven, put forth effort, and so I figured, 'Okay, that's a good list and hopefully I'll find that,'" he said. "Well, what I found was very quickly the women blew my expectations out of the water." ABC/Pamela Littky Echard continued, "They brought all of that and so much more, so the expectations continued to rise, and I realized that, ultimately, I was going to find everything that I wanted and so much more." He also said that the experience turned out to be a real learning opportunity for him. "There were so many things that I learned. I think the biggest one would be, be calm and comfortable with being uncomfortable and stepping out of that comfort zone," the medical sales rep said. "It really challenged me to grow as an individual." ABC RELATED GALLERY: Every Bachelor and Bachelorette Couple: Where Are They Now? "There was just so much that I learned about myself in the period of time that I was there," Echard added. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Alongside the announcement on Tuesday, ABC released a first-look teaser at the upcoming season, which will be hosted by former Bachelor and NFL player Jesse Palmer. "I'm just a Midwest guy from Missouri that just wants to find love," Echard said in the new clip. "And I believe more than anything that my future wife is here." The network also previously 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, but Echard's final group of suitors has yet to be announced. The Bachelor season 26 premieres Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.