VAN ALSTYNE — Following in the footsteps of anyone, let alone an older sibling, can be a difficult journey. Although for Connor Mayes, it helps that his feet are pretty large themselves.

VAN ALSTYNE — Following in the footsteps of anyone, let alone an older sibling, can be a difficult journey. Although for Connor Mayes, it helps that his feet are pretty large themselves.


The Van Alstyne offensive lineman will join his brother, Alex, at the University of Minnesota, reuniting them after playing three years together for the Panthers when Mayes signed his national letter of intent on Wednesday to play football for Minnesota.


He committed to the Gophers back in June over offers from nearly two dozen schools, including Baylor, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State Mississippi, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.


The 6-foot-5, 309-pound Mayes has shifted between center and guard for the Panthers as Van Alstyne rebounded from a 1-9 record in 2012 to go 7-5 with a district runner-up finish before losing in the area round.


Mayes shared the District 6-2A (I) Offensive Lineman of the Year honor with Pottsboro’s Charlie Bray this past season, was an honorable mention all-state pick and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in early January.


He was a first-team all-district selection as a junior and as a sophomore he earned honorable mention all-state accolades as Van Alstyne reached the 2A Division II Region II semifinals.


The crowning individual achievement for the Mayes brothers was being 40 percent of the unit that blocked fo Jordan Barnes’ 524-yard game against Farmersville in 2011, which is the fifth highest single-game rushing total in Texas high school history.


Rivals.com ranks Mayes as a three-star recruit, the 12th-best center in the country and the 73rd-best senior in the state of Texas.


When Alex, who redshirted this past season, committed to Minnesota in June of 2012 and Connor already a prospect entering his sophomore season, the Gophers appeared to be a front-runner for his services.


Minnesota has made it a point of attracting talent from the Lone Star State in recent years. Including Alex, 11 Texas natives were on last season’s roster.


After going 6-7 in 2012 with a loss to Texas Tech in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston, the Gophers had their first winning season since 2008 with an 8-5 record and a 21-17 loss to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl.


The duo will return to the area this season when Minnesota plays at TCU, where their father, Allen, played football in the early 1980s.