Colton Underwood is set to star in season 23 of The Bachelor starting Monday, January 7, on ABC, and the former NFL football player says that, aside from finding love, his intention is to be as genuine as possible.

“For a long time I was just a football player, but I want people to see me for who I am,” Underwood told People. He noted that his years in the NFL trained him to know when the camera is on him, but viewers won’t be getting a polished persona when The Bachelor premieres. “I’m not this perfect dude,” he continued. “I have mistakes and I have flaws but I’m going to grow and get better from it.”

Early looks at Underwood’s season have promised not only 30 women vying for his affections, but also lots of tears and unexpected turns. One promo showed the leading man trying to escape the cameras by jumping a fence — something that host Chris Harrison previously said might be his fault.

“I was approximately 10 yards behind him when it happened,” Harrison told Us Weekly last month. “I may or may not have been the reason that he hopped the fence.”

Underwood was first announced as the season 23 Bachelor after competing on Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette and then appearing on Bachelor in Paradise season 5. The 26-year-old former footballer made his mark early in the franchise, in part because he dated Kufrin’s former Bachelor co-contestant Tia Booth. He also revealed to Kufrin that he was a virgin.

“I’m undeniably myself, and I think realizing that is the way to live life,” Underwood told People about his upcoming turn as the leading man. “I may be goofy, I may be corny and I may be cheesy, but I’m me.”

Are you excited for The Bachelor season 23? Let us know @BritandCo!

(photo via ABC/Craig Sjodin)