Mitchell Todd, who had played at international level, died in the accident near Normanton-on-the-Wolds, in south Nottinghamshire, on Wednesday.
Police said he was found inside a Citroen C3 shortly before 6am and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 21-year-old was a product of the Scottish Exiles – a rugby training programme for developing players of Scottish descent outside Scotland.
Born in England, he qualified for Scotland through his Edinburgh-born father and had represented the Scottish Exiles at Under-17, Under-18, Under-19 and Under-20 levels.
His progress was being monitored by the national squad. In 2011 Mr Todd played in ten games for the Scotland Under-20 side, starting in eight of them, including all Scotland’s matches in that year’s IRB Junior World Championship.
Rob Brierley, Scottish Rugby’s performance development manager for the England-based Scottish players, said: “He was a quiet, sensitive bloke with a real steely determination on the pitch.
“He was a real athlete, somebody who was late to the game and was developing all the time.”
Last night former Scotland and British Lions player Peter Wright, who worked with Mr Todd while Scotland Under-20 coach, paid tribute.
He said: “Mitch was a popular member of the squad and a guy I really enjoyed coaching.
“He came up from Nottingham and put in a lot of hard work.”
Although playing his club rugby mainly for Nottingham, he had also represented Nuneaton, Leicester Lions and Moseley.
Nottingham Rugby said that a match against Loughborough Students scheduled for tomorrow had been cancelled. The Championship club said Mr Todd, who had played for the senior team in the British and Irish Cup last season, had just finished a degree in sports therapy at Coventry University.
The club added that he had signed a new contract with Nottingham in May and was expected to “make a big impact during the 2012-13 season”.
“He was an exceptional talent and a highly valued member of the squad, and he will be missed by all of those that knew him. Our thoughts are with Mitchell’s family and friends at this difficult time,” the club said in a statement.
Further tributes were paid to the player by friends, teammates and supporters on Twitter and Facebook.
Glasgow and Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg, who also lost a Hawick teammate in a car accident two years ago, tweeted: “Absolutely gutted to hear about the death of Mitch Todd. He was some character to be around and an unbelievable talent on the pitch.”
Mark Bennett, another strongly tipped young Scottish player, currently with French club Clermont Auvergne, tweeted: “Disappointed to hear the news about Mitch Todd. Big presence on the pitch, gentle giant off it. Really good player and all round nice guy.”