Divine Buckrham looks to start new chapter at Robert Morris


Divine Buckrham is one of the newest additions to Robert Morris football and he sat down with Colonial Sports Network to discuss his career and arrival. Photo Credit: Lehigh Athletics

By Tyler Gallo, Sports Editor

The transfer portal has been a whirlwind for nearly every sport this offseason as more players are utilizing the portal more than ever before due to COVID-19 creating extra years of eligibility for student-athletes. Robert Morris football is no stranger to both sides, losing several players to the portal as well as adding some.

With every departure there are additions, and Robert Morris gained a talented one in graduate transfer Divine Buckrham who spent his first four years of his collegiate career at Lehigh University. He spent time as one of the team’s captains and as a steady presence in the secondary for the team.

Buckrham, who transferred into the program on May 7, is no stranger to the Pittsburgh area. He went to high school at the Kiski School, a college preparatory school in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania which sits 53 miles away from Moon Township. Buckrham’s time at Kiski prepared him for football at the collegiate level.

“It helped me more off the field than on, going to a prep school allowed me to live an independent life,” Buckrham said. “I got used to managing my time well and balancing football and school. On the field, it fueled the work ethic I have now, coming out of high school I wasn’t the biggest and fastest, so I had to work to get to where I am right now.”

Coming out of high school and looking at colleges, Buckrham settled on Lehigh University, which was a perfect fit for him in several ways.

“The year I committed, they won the conference and made the playoffs. I was close with the coach who recruited me as well, he went to [Kiski],” he said. “The academics were a big part of it, and the fact that it was only two hours away from home was another.”

During his time with the Mountain Hawks, Buckrham was a tackling machine, recording 67 solo tackles and 28 tackle assists, including 3.5 tackles for losses, three pass deflections, and a fumble recovery. His career-high came in the 2018 season opener, recording 11 tackles against Saint Francis. The key factor in his performance that night was having a short-term memory.

“I gave up two big pass plays early in the game and that had an impact on me mentally,” he said. “My coaches and teammates told me to shake it off, and even though I gave up another [pass] later, having more trust in myself and the other ten guys on defense helped me make the plays that came to me.”

Buckrham and several members of his family battled COVID-19 in April of 2020, even losing his grandfather to the disease. Lehigh also canceled the fall season much like other schools, but luckily for the Mountain Hawks, they scheduled a spring season which brought the excitement back initially, but the team lost one of its four scheduled games due to COVID and Buckrham suffered a concussion after playing in the game, ending his season prematurely.

“COVID was tough for everyone because we have never seen anything like it before, but I know we were all happy to play in the spring,” Buckrham said. “It wasn’t an easy season, especially for me because I got a concussion before the second game after having a quiet first game. It hurt, but I was voted captain for a reason and I still was going to lead my team from the sidelines.”

Being named one of the captains for Lehigh was special for Buckrham, expressing strong leadership qualities since he stepped foot on campus in Bethlehem and carrying those throughout his four-plus years at the school.

After four seasons at the school, Buckrham pointed towards “The Rivalry” game during his freshman year, a game where the Mountain Hawks made a ten-point comeback late against rival Lafayette to win 38-31 on November 18, 2017, as his favorite moment in brown and white.

Graduating from Lehigh, Buckrham and his roommates (names?) entered the transfer portal with Buckrham entering as a graduate transfer. The process was both tumultuous and quiet, having offers pick up as soon as he received his first Division I offer from Sacred Heart.

Ultimately Buckrham decided to commit to Robert Morris on May 7, joining several other transfers into the program. He credits the coaching staff and play style as factors in his coming to Robert Morris and also knowing about the area and academics of the school.

“Coach Tanski and Coach Plungas were talking with me every day which I really liked. I’ve heard a lot about Coach Clark and the defense as well,” he said. “Growing up near Pittsburgh, I was pretty familiar with the area and I knew some people here. The business program is great at Robert Morris, especially where I can get my MBA.”

Buckrham also mentioned the skillset he brings to the table and what Robert Morris fans can look forward to.

“Making plays all around, especially in coverage, is where my bread and butter is at,” Buckrham said. “I can come in and be a cover guy and a leader. Being one of the older guys on the back-end, I can bring those qualities to the other young guys on the team.”

Buckrham is ready to get back into football action, citing his last impactful game as coming nearly two years ago in 2019.

“I’m ready to play some football and play some of the best competition I’ve ever faced in the Big South. I’m looking forward to going down South and playing some games and having family down there see it. The change of scenery is also big, I’m going to go out there and try to win games.”

With the way the offseason has unfolded, Robert Morris football is certainly not done adding players, but a big addition to the fray in the secondary will be Divine Buckrham who looks to replicate his success in the Patriot League in the Big South.

For the full interview, check out this link.