The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Ekanem got the offer when Irish assistant Charley Molnar visited the school Friday, and Ekanem plans to return visit in the fall.
"It would be an honor to play for them, and it fits me perfectly, defensive scheme-wise, and academically," Ekanem said. "I want to major in business, and they have one of the top business schools in the nation. They're high on my list.
"I'm going to take an official visit there. I don't know when yet."
On the field, Ekanem is being recruited to play the hybrid defensive end position, which allows him to utilize his athleticism.
"I'd be the outside linebacker," Ekanem said. "They have Ishaq Williams, and they were talking about me playing on the opposite side of him. They'd play me there, play me in space. Some downs I'd have my hand on the ground, some I'd be dropping back into coverage. That's what I like to do."
The offer came on Notre Dame's second visit to Centreville this spring. Molnar was there a month ago, and returned to check on Ekanem last week.
"I was surprised," Ekanem said about the offer. "I wasn't sure they were going to pull the trigger yet. It was a big accomplishment. To say you got offered by Notre Dame, one of the most historic schools in the nation, it's pretty big. "
Ekanem had a breakout junior season in which he registered 75 tackles, including 17 sacks, and the competition to land him will be fierce. He is located in an area recruited very well by Virginia Tech and Virginia, and pulling him out of there could be difficult.
"It would be cool to play for my state, but it just depends how comfortable I would feel at the school," he said. "If it feels like home, I'll go to that school."
Ekanem also plans on taking his time with the recruiting process.
"I haven't trimmed (his list) yet," he said. "I ‘m going to by the start of the football season."