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Matt James, The Bachelor’s first black lead, has Florida college football ties

The first African-American man to be the central figure of the hit reality TV show had some cameos against the Seminoles and Hurricanes.
Matt James was a receiver at Wake Forest before becoming the next lead in The Bachelor.
Matt James was a receiver at Wake Forest before becoming the next lead in The Bachelor. [ ALAN DIAZ | AP ]
Published Jun. 12, 2020

The Bachelor made history Friday when it announced Matt James will be its next star and the first black man in the lead role on the hit reality TV show.

James was a receiver at Wake Forest from 2010-14 and, naturally, has some Florida college football ties.

In 2012, he had a catch in the Demon Deacons’ 52-0 loss at Florida State, where James suffered a season-ending broken collarbone. His first catch the next year was against Miami in a 24-21 loss to the Hurricanes.

James had a bigger role in one of the most infamous games of this century — the famed Wake Forest-Virginia Tech game in 2014 that was tied at 0 through regulation. James had six catches for 29 yards that day and was targeted on the final incompletion of the game before Wake Forest kicked a field goal to win 6-3 in double overtime.

Related: What’s in The Bachelorette’s contract with University of Alabama?

One of James’ Wake Forest teammates was Tyler Cameron, another name in the Bachelor universe with local football ties. The Jupiter native originally committed to play quarterback at USF but flipped to Wake Forest before finishing his college career at Florida Atlantic. He was a popular contestant on the last season of The Bachelorette.

James’ season of The Bachelor is expected to premiere sometime next year.