Georgia has had a couple of young players emerge as stars in the making in recent weeks, and coach Kirby Smart has seen it building for a while.

RB Kendall Milton has seen action in all four games this season, and is the team’s second-leading rusher with 134 yards on 21 carries. He led Bulldogs with 56 yards on eight carries in win over Tennessee, and last week had 44 yards on six carries at Alabama, including a season-long 24-yarder. Milton also chipped in 30 yards on six carries in win over Auburn.

“He’s earning some playing time, you saw that probably last game,” Smart said on the SEC coaches media teleconference. “He played earlier than he has been playing… every opportunity he’s gotten, he’s taken advantage of it.”

Smart added that Milton pulled a hamstring in camp because he works so hard.

LB Azeez Ojulari is another budding star for the Bulldogs and made several noticeable plays at Alabama, including two pass breakups. He has started in all four games to date, and is the Bulldogs’ fifth-leading tackler with 15 total stops, including six for lost yardage and three QB sacks. He leads team with 14 QB pressures, and forced and recovered a fumble on the first QB sack against Tennessee that helped him be named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week after Tennessee game.

“He’s tough, physical, very disciplined,” Smart said. “A core leader, when you have a guy that does things the right way, goes to class, goes to his appointments … he checks all the boxes and on top of that, he’s a really good athlete.”

Smart also shared what he learned from the loss at Alabama.

“We have glaring issues, things we need to work on, you know, in terms of defensive penalties and defensive explosive plays,” he said. “And then all offensively, that can’t get into a boat race where we’re trying to ask for people, we’re gonna, you know, play our brand of football and allow and help sets and with the people around me, probably the number one thing, but, you know, look, we, we definitely didn’t play our best game, but at the same time we were playing our best opponent. The best level of competition we’ve gone up against was certainly there. And that’s how you get better, you know, you got to go out compete and play and we actually did some things better than we’ve done in other games, we’re just doing it against a lot better competition and we got a improve this week and I’ve really been pleased with the attitude and approach.”