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Georgia photo by Perry McIntyre / Freshman running back Kendall Milton has produced a solid start to his Georgia career, including a team-high 56 yards on eight carries during the 44-21 win over Tennessee on Oct. 10.

There hasn't been any significant concern about Georgia's running backs since midway through the 2013 season, when Todd Gurley was sidelined with a badly sprained ankle and Keith Marshall was out with an ACL tear.

There aren't any worries now or for the foreseeable future, with Kendall Milton making sure of that.

Earlier this year, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound freshman from Fresno, California, joined a quite competent group of running backs, including Zamir White, James Cook and Kenny McIntosh, and he didn't take long to make his mark. After carrying just once for 4 yards in the 37-10 win at Arkansas that opened the season, Milton has rushed 20 times for 130 yards in the three ensuing games for a 6.5-yard average.

In last Saturday night's 41-24 loss at Alabama, Milton had six carries for 44 yards with a long of 24.

"He's earning some playing time, and I think you saw that in this last game, because he played earlier than he has been playing," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "He makes really good cuts and has good vision. Every opportunity he's gotten, he's taken advantage of and grown with it.

"It's really unfortunate that he hasn't been able to contribute more before now, because he had a hamstring injury early in camp and then came back and pulled it again."

Milton, who enrolled in January as the nation's No. 53 overall signee in the 247Sports.com composite rankings, had six rushes for 30 yards in the 27-6 victory over Auburn on Oct. 3 but didn't get his first carry until midway through the third quarter. His first carry in each of the past two games occurred late in the first quarter, including his 24-yarder to Alabama's 21-yard line that helped set up White's 10-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 7.

In Georgia's 44-21 victory over Tennessee on Oct. 10, Milton actually led the Bulldogs with 56 yards on eight carries.

"He's such an intense worker that a couple of times we've had to slow him down because we felt like that's why the hamstring bothered him," Smart said. "We would try and do walk-throughs, and he was going full speed. I've been really pleased with what he's been able to do. He's a physical, downhill runner, and he's improved at protecting the ball and obviously the protections in the pass game.

"I've been proud of him. We've asked him to do things on special teams that he had never done, and he is learning them really quick, which I think has carried over to his confidence at running back."

Georgia is off this weekend before facing Kentucky in Lexington on Oct. 31.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

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