ATHENS — The Georgia G-Day Game left plenty for fans to digest, but it didn’t take long for Jalen Carter to make his preseason felt.

Carter, a junior preseason All-American candidate at defensive tackle, put a hit on Kendal Milton that stopped the Bulldogs’ power back in his tracks.

It was the typical kind of hit for Carter, who earlier in spring drills could have taken Kenny McIntosh’s head off in backside pursuit had he not slowed up on the tackle.

And, Smart noted during Saturday’s G-Day Game at Sanford Stadium, Carter can also get after the quarterback.

“Pass rush, the biggest thing we need is pass rush, and he can do that, he can generate it, he can compete,” Smart said on the ESPN2 telecast.

“He’s had a really good spring.”

Georgia needs Carter to take the next step in his career from very good to superstar with projected first-round defensive tackle NFL Draft talents Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt moving on.

Smart has noted that Carter, previously not one of the more vocal players, is finding his voice in the defensive line room.

“He’s starting to lead that group a little bit,” Smart said. “With those other personalities gone, he’s asserted himself.”

Smart said Carter’s leadership should continue to emerge this offseason, too.

“I think you get it through the offseason workouts, the conditioning program, and how you practice,” Smart said, explaining how leaders earn respect.

“If you’re out there being lazy, and not putting good stuff on tape, you can’t be a leader. I think he’s done a great job with that.”