20 Gorgeous Photos of Matt James, 'Bachelor' Nation's Newest Leading Man

Yes, we will accept this rose

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Matt James. Matt James/Instagram

This is Matt James, The Bachelor's next leading man.

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He's making history as the first black lead on The Bachelor in the show's 24 seasons, and only the second black lead in the history of the franchise.

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Although he is technically a newbie, James is no stranger to the franchise. He was originally cast on Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette, which halted production due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ABC exec Rob Mills told Variety, "He would have been on Clare's season if it started in March. When we realized the shutdown was going to extend through the summer, we started thinking about how we were going to choose our Bachelor."

"Matt was somebody who was on our radar and we were thinking about him," Mills continued. "We were thinking, do we announce him early, or do we put him on Clare's season and then announce him later, if it doesn't work out with Clare?"

Added Mills: "We didn't make a final decision until recently, but this has been talked about for quite some time."

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He's also best friends and roommates with former Bachelorette suitor Tyler Cameron. Here they are holding puppies while shirtless.

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Matt James, Tyler Cameron
Matt James (left) and Tyler Cameron. aul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty

The friends are so close, Tyler once joked that his late mom, Andrea, who died earlier this year from a brain aneurysm, was the one who nominated James to appear on The Bachelor.

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These two do just about everything together and even have their own hashtag: #Myler.

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The pair were quarantined together with family and friends in Jupiter, Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic, calling themselves the #QuarantineCrew.

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He's also pals with Hannah Brown, a fellow member of the #QuarantineCrew.

In a message of support for her buddy, Brown wrote on Instagram, "Matt James is the Bachelor. I cannot contain my excitement for this amazing human making history as the first Black Bachelor- to God be the Glory! 🙌

This man is as good as it gets y'all, and that's coming from a previous skeptic (lolz). I am so blessed to now call you friend. You've supported and encouraged me in some of the hardest moments lately and I'm so freaking pumped to support and encourage you as you get ready to go on an adventure of a lifetime! #1 Matt James fan right here! 🌹"

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James played football for Wake Forest University before playing a short stint in the NFL.

"I didn't think I was going to make a career out of football, but I thought my stint in the NFL would be longer than a few months," James said in an interview.

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Football isn't his only talent. He's also a gifted athlete in plenty of other ways. Like surfing (in the ocean) ...

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... and surfing (on land).

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As if that's not impressive enough, he's also out here running marathons (with his pal Tyler, naturally).

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We tried to count how many abs he has but just kept losing count. No matter the number, it's impressive.

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He also rides horses! Is there anything this man doesn't do?!

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James is a mama's boy! He told Good Morning America that he plans on bringing her advice with him to the Bachelor mansion.

"I'm just going to lean into myself and how my mom raised me, and hopefully when people invite me into their homes on Monday night... they see that diverse love stories are beautiful," James said.

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This throwback photo of James with his mother is so sweet. Look at cute he was!

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James is truly hot enough to melt both of those ice cream cones.

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This throwback from 2014 proves that James has always had an impeccable smolder.

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We won't tell anyone if you photoshop yourself with James' arm around you. Go ahead!

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Calm, cool and collected, even in the most high-adrenaline circumstances. Good qualities to have with dozens of women vying for his attention!

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