Now the junior inside linebacker from Valdosta has racked up a team-leading 40 this season, including 12 in Saturday's 20-12 win against Tennessee.
That's a new high as a Bulldog for Gilliard, who was honored Monday by the SEC as its defensive player of the week.
"It was about time he got recognized for working it," said junior inside linebacker Christian Robinson, who congratulated Gilliard in the team locker room Monday. "A lot of people only see that in game play, but he's gotten his opportunity and he shined on Saturday."
Gillard also accounted for a sack, two and a half tackles for loss and a forced fumble in the 20-12 win. He's led Georgia in tackles the past four games since stepping into the lineup for Alec Ogletree, who remains out with a broken foot.
"We're getting better by virtue of the fact that more guys are getting opportunities and experience," coach Mark Richt said. "It's only going to create more depth in the future."
Gilliard wasn't the only Georgia player to get a weekly award.
Kicker Blair Walsh is the SEC special teams player of the week.
Walsh entered the game 6 of 12 on the season on field goals. He made both attempts Saturday, from 35 and 23 yards and converted both extra points.
Vanderbilt QB decision involves brother of Packers QB
Georgia may have to try to contain the younger brother of the Green Bay Packers' star on Saturday.
Rodgers is a redshirt junior who transferred from Butte Junior College in Oroville, Calif.
"We're going to determine that this week and have a competition and kind of see," Franklin said.
Smith is in his third year as starter, but Rodgers completed 11 of 18 passes for 104 yards with two interceptions in a 34-0 loss Saturday to Alabama after he came in for Smith, who left the game with a left ankle injury, but Franklin said could have returned.
Rodgers has gotten playing time in all five games this season.
"I thought Jordan played extremely well in the first half," Franklin said. "I don't think he played as well as he would have liked to play or we would have liked him to play in the second half."
Georgia turned to its vertical passing game a handful of times against Tennessee on Saturday with mixed results.
"We would have loved to hit a couple of deep balls there, but other than that I think he played pretty good," Richt said of Murray.
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said Monday that one problem area for his team was "getting the balls thrown over our head."
Richt said after the game that Georgia "had guys that were in great position to get long touchdown passes or at least long plays. I think we could have thrown the ball a little bit better and maybe separated."
Mitchell is out this week with a pulled hamstring.
"They've always been able to get some difference makers on the perimeter," Franklin said. "If you load the box up to stop the run and leave them one-on-one on the outside, they're going to take their shots."
This and that
Georgia is listing junior Marlon Brown or redshirt freshman Michael Bennett to replace Mitchell as a starting receiver this week. …Cornerback Brandon Boykin is wearing a metal wire after a few teeth were loosened after he was tackled on a kickoff against Mississippi State. "It's kind of like braces just to keep my teeth in place," said Boykin, who expects to be wearing it only for a couple of weeks. …Georgia practiced on its FieldTurf surface during Monday's practice in light rain. …The minus-20 yards of net rushing Georgia held Tennessee to on Saturday is the second lowest output this year in an FBS game behind only the minus-26 N.C. State was limited to against Cincinnati on Sept. 22. …Game captains for Saturday: Boykin, Ben Jones, Cordy Glenn and Kosta Vavlas.