Former Wake Forest WR Matt James first black man to star on 'The Bachelor'

Matt James, a former Wake Forest wide receiver, was named Friday as the next star for ABC's reality series "The Bachelor."

He'll be the first black man to star in the role in the show's history.

James, from Raleigh, North Carolina, caught 40 passes for 401 yards in 2014, his final season with the Demon Deacons. One of James' teammates at Wake, former quarterback Tyler Cameron, was the runner-up on "The Bachelorette" last year.

The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers both brought James in for tryouts during minicamps after he went undrafted in 2015, but he didn't catch on with either team.

The show's 25th season, starring James, will air in 2021. A previous season of "The Bachelorette," on which James is a contestant, was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic and will air this fall.

"Matt has been on our radar since February, when producers first approached him to join Bachelor Nation," said Karey Burke, the president of ABC Entertainment. "When filming couldn't move forward as planned, we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor. We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first black Bachelor, and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him."